OSWEGO – The Oswego City School District has thrived on creating community connections that result in lasting partnerships.
Minetto Elementary School staff members and students have been proud to accomplish just that, thanks to the Oswego State Men’s Ice Hockey Team.
Several players recently visited the school as part of the third annual reading event to promote the team’s teddy bear toss.
Event organizer and Minetto second grade teacher Kathleen Shafer said that by speaking with the college athletes, the students were able to understand the importance of setting goals and priorities in life.
After reading sports and winter-themed stories to students in grades kindergarten through six, the Laker hockey players spoke with the youngsters about academic responsibilities and giving back to the community.
“Having guest readers provides an opportunity for our students to hear good reading models and make connections to others in our community,” Shafer said. “Students are engaged and excited to learn from someone new.”
Player Mitch Emerson first visited Stephanie Marino’s first grade classroom where several Lakers fans were ecstatic to listen to his story about hockey, ask him questions and pose for photographs. Emerson, #9, also invited students to the game after he explained that when the Lakers make their first goal during the team’s Nov. 30 game, attendees are encouraged to toss gently-used or new teddy bears onto the ice.
Those items are then collected and donated to Toys for Tots.
Inspired by his talk, first grader Callen O’Connor said he wants to grow up to be a Laker and get good grades.
Shafer thanked the players for their willingness “to do whatever is asked” from the students to help create amazing memories.
“The time they spend with us is truly appreciated and it does have a positive impact on our students,” she said. “The faculty, staff, and students at Minetto are grateful to the players for coming and to the coaches for promoting this type of community service.”