April 28, 2006
On Friday, April 28th, the entire 8th grade student body from The Cradlerock School in Columbia, Maryland visited the University to partake in National Student-Athlete Day. The 160 plus visiting students enjoyed a day full of interaction with the University of Maryland student-athletes from various sports. The day began with a campus tour, followed by lunch at the Comcast Center with the student-athletes and a speech by former men's soccer stand-out and current women's soccer assistant coach Leo Cullen on the importance of school. After the lunch the eight-graders performed in team games led by the student-athletes and received autographs from student-athletes on shirts and participation cards.
Mission of the day: "Promote academics and athletics and help the visiting students realize the importance of finding a balance for both." This mission was reiterated through the inspiring words from Leo Cullen, a former men's soccer player who left school to play professionally prior to completing his degree. Later, upon recognizing the importance of his degree Leo decided to come back after a seven year stint in Major League Soccer to complete his education. This story, which the eight-graders heard at lunch, stressed the importance of focusing in the classroom because playing sports may come to an end at anytime and your education will help shape you throughout your life.
At the conclusion of the speech, the group was lead to the gym to participate in game activities lead by student-athletes. The stations included basketball shooting, football toss and catch, a wiffle-ball batting cage with hitting and fielding, a soccer shoot-out, and a track & field shuttle station. Each station brought their own challenges physically to the visiting students, but the instructions and energy provided by the volunteering student-athletes helped increase the level of enjoyment. According to Deborah Epperly, the supervising teacher with The Cradlerock School, "this field trip was the best field trip these students have taken, they had a great time." The University of Maryland student-athletes and staff thank Cradelrock School for visiting and helping make National Student-Athlete Day a success.