Jayhawks Present Sunflower Elementary Schools for Success Award
May 9, 2013
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Synchronized hand claps followed by a slap of the floor filled the gymnasium at Sunflower Elementary in Lawrence Thursday, as the student body gathered with a percussion version of the Queen song “We Will Rock You” prior to a special in-school assembly. There, Kansas head coach Bonnie Henrickson and the members and assistant coaches of the women’s basketball team were on hand to present the school with the “Schools for Success” elementary school challenge award.
The elementary school attendance challenge is a friendly competition between 14 Lawrence schools to have the highest percentage attendance rate at home KU women’s basketball games during the 2013 Big 12 Conference season. Sunflower had the highest rate of attendance at the end of the season and was awarded a $2,500 prize. Second place went to last year’s winner, Schwegler, as it received $1,500 and Pinckney placed third for a $1,000 prize. The program was made possible by the NCAA Women’s Basketball Grant Program. Awarded to KU in 2009, its purpose is to increase awareness and attendance for KU women’s basketball.
Principal Howard Diacon began the assembly by congratulating and thanking the students for their hard work before introducing Henrickson. The KU coach praised the students for their efforts, and then turned the program over to sophomore guard Natalie Knight, who served as the Jayhawk representative for Sunflower.
“We just wanted to say congratulations to all of you for your hard work this year,” Knight said while addressing the Sunflower student body. “And we wanted to say thank you for coming to all of our games and supporting us. Thank you also for all the letters I got about my knee and we hope you have a wonderful summer.”
Henrickson and Knight then presented Principal Diacon with a basketball autographed by the entire women’s team and the check for $2,500. After a surprise appearance by Big Jay, the eager students lined up to get high fives from Henrickson, Knight and the rest of the Jayhawks.
Kansas Athletics provided an admission card to each student in K-6th grade which allowed free admission at the gate to all Big 12 Conference home games. Each elementary school in the program is adopted by a member of the KU women’s basketball team and staff, who serves as a positive role model for the kids in the community by visiting the students, reading to them, eating lunch with them and playing at recess.
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