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Athletes off the Field: Fredonia student-athletes encourage kids at elementary schools

Athletes off the Field: Fredonia student-athletes encourage kids at elementary schools

FREDONIA, N.Y. - Student-athletes at Fredonia are helping take away the Monday blues for kids at local elementary schools.

This week, Fredonia's athletic teams kicked off another semester of #CelebrateMondays, a weekly initiative where student-athletes visit kids at Fredonia Elementary School and the elementary schools in the Dunkirk City School District every Monday morning. Kids ranging from kindergarten through fourth grade get a warm greeting and lots of high-fives from the athletes when they get dropped off at school.

The initiative started at Fredonia shortly after Jerry Fisk, the school's director of athletics, joined the school in December, 2017. "The purpose behind the initiative is to give our student athletes an opportunity to get into the schools and have a shared experience with these elementary kids that look up to them in our community," Fisk explained. 

While the kids are certainly encouraged, Fisk said the student-athletes get a lot out of the experience, too - even if it means getting up early on Monday mornings. "I can assure you that when the kids are coming through the line, it's easy to see just how worth it it is," Fisk shared. 

"Being a part of such an unforgettable new tradition and watching these kids' faces light up when they see their potential role models welcoming them to school, is an incredible feeling," Fredonia men's ice hockey senior Luke Rivera said. "The point of it is to show up at their schools to make their day better, but what they don't know is I think it makes all of our student-athletes' days better."

Fisk explained that the program is also a way to help Fredonia's student-athletes be better prepared after graduation. "Part of our initiative is to graduate global citizens who are equipped and willing to go out and impact the world around them," Fisk said. "It's a selfless act that encourages others, and I believe helps develop character."

The administration at both the Fredonia and Dunkirk schools said the initiative is making a big difference for the kids. "Our students love the Celebrate Mondays program, and are often overheard stating that Mondays are 'now their favorite day of the week'," Fredonia Elementary School Principal Amy Piper explained. "The student-athletes line the sidewalks on Monday mornings and respond so well to all of the students, noticing if a student is a bit timid, needing some space, or if a student is exploding with energy, and wants to high-five every single athlete."

"Having SUNY Fredonia athletes visit our elementary buildings this past Monday morning helped raise our school spirit immensely," Dunkirk City School District Elementary School Supervisor Dan Genovese added. "Inspirational people making a positive impact on our elementary students is truly something to recognize."

A reason why one of the most dreaded days of the week for these kids is quickly turning into one of their favorite.

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