Women's Basketball Players Visit Local Elementary Schools

Jan. 7, 2011

Kansas women’s basketball players have been taking advantage of their break from school and making the most of their free time away from the court. Jayhawk players have been making the rounds visiting local elementary schools and putting smiles on the faces of those students.

010711aaa_147_4446727.jpegTwo important visits made by KU players this week included redshirt freshman forward Tania Jackson visiting Woodlawn Elementary School and sophomore guard Monica Engelman making an appearance at Hillcrest Elementary School.

Jackson, a Woodlawn alum, joined KU Coach Bonnie Henrickson in honoring the Woodlawn Riverhawks during an assembly Friday morning at the elementary school. The school is being celebrated as a National Blue Ribbon School.

During Friday’s special assembly, Jackson and Henrickson joined Rick Doll, superintendent of the Lawrence school district, in congratulating Woodlawn students, faculty and staff for winning the national award. The U.S. Department of Education bestows the honor each year on elementary, middle and high schools whose students achieve at very high levels or have made significant progress and helped close gaps in achievement, especially among disadvantaged and minority students.

Woodlawn is one of 304 schools nationwide to be so honored for 2010.

010711aaa_147_4446715.jpegEngelman made a visit to Hillcrest to honor a select group of students who had exhibited outstanding behavior in their classrooms. One student was chosen from each grade level to have a round table question-answer session with Engelman and a special luncheon with the KU basketball player.

Engelman is a very popular figure around Hillcrest as she is paired up with the school as part of the Schools for Success program. Schools for Success is a program developed by Kansas Athletics made possible by the NCAA Women’s Basketball Grant Program. The grant was awarded to Kansas Athletics in 2009 for the purpose of increasing awareness and attendance for KU Women’s Basketball.

Within the Schools for Success program is the Elementary School Attendance Challenge, which is a friendly competition between 15 Lawrence elementary schools to have the highest percentage attendance rate at home KU Women’s Basketball games during the 2010-11 season. The school with the highest rate of attendance at the end of the season will be awarded a $5,000 prize. Second place will receive $3,000 and third place will receive $2,000. They will also receive a special assembly featuring the KU mascots, student-athletes and exciting prizes.

Kansas Athletics provided an admission card to each student in the K-6th grade which allows free admission at the gate to all home games. In addition, this card can be presented at the KU ticket office to receive a $3 ticket for family and friends and $2 Nesquik Lowfat Chocolate Milk or Regular Milk. They may also present the card at the Lawrence Jason’s Deli to receive a free kids meal (dine-in only and limit one per visit).

010711aaa_147_4446742.jpegEach elementary is adopted by a member of the KU Women’s Basketball team and staff, who visits to meet the students, read, eat lunch, play at recess, and provide a positive role model for the kids in the community. As a part of this program, Jackson is matched up with Woodlawn and Engelman with Hillcrest, last year’s winner.

Schwegler Elementary is currently in the lead with a 23% attendance rate. Schwegler is matched up with Henrickson. Pinckney Elementary school, which is matched up with sophomore guard Angel Goodrich, is currently in second place with 21%, while Engelman’s Hillcrest kids are in third place with 18%.

The Jayhawks, who are currently 13-1 on the season, will open Big 12 Conference play on Saturday, Jan. 8, when they play host to Texas Tech. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m., in Allen Fieldhouse.