The Weber State University athletics department helped students at Shadow Valley Elementary with their morning news, playing sports and saying no to drugs during its annual Red Ribbon Week.
“We try to focus on healthy living rather than avoiding drugs,” said Brittany Litz, Red Ribbon coordinator and PTA member.
Litz said the athletes visiting the students allows them to see what living a healthy, drug-free lifestyle can do for them.
“We have the athletes say, ‘Hey, we are here for Red Ribbon Week, and we wanted to tell you guys that I am So-and-So . . . I play for WSU and I decided to live a drug-free and healthy life to follow my dreams. I wouldn’t be successful without that.’”
Ashley Bockwoldt, who has a child in the third grade, was present on Friday when the WSU women’s basketball team came to visit the elementary.
“The whole girls’ basketball team showed up, and they were amazing,” she said.
The team played foursquare, basketball, football and soccer, and even played on the playground with the children.
“I think some of the kids were intimidated,” Bockwoldt said. “So they (the basketball team) would just go play with the kids so they didn’t have to ask.”
After the recess break, the students and athletes went into the lunchroom, where an impromptu dance-off took place.
“It was like nothing I have ever seen,” Bockwoldt said. “The girls started clapping on the tables and started chanting, and they would all start clapping and all the kids would bang on the table. They were pulling girls at the end and showing them dance moves. Each team would go, they would dance, and other students would vote on who was the best.”
Litz said that on Monday, the football players visited and talked about themselves and why they decided to stay healthy and drug-free.
“The boys really enjoyed that,” Litz said.
On Tuesday, the WSU dancers visited and did the morning news, then taught cheers to the children during recess. The softball team visited on Wednesday. On Thursday, the men’s basketball team came to do the news.
“I think the kids really enjoy it and like seeing the different athletes that come and what a good influence they are to keep the body healthy,” Bockwoldt said.
Donald Mendenhall, principal at Shadow Valley, said he was excited to partner with WSU and have the athletes visit the school.
“Our girls are awesome young ladies,” said Bethann Ord, coach for the women’s basketball team. “We love going to the schools and helping the community.”
The team told the children to do their homework and stay in school.
“They told the kids that they get high on sports,” Ord said, “not high on drugs.”