HU Basketball Players Read and Talk to the Little Knights of Barron Elementary School
By O’Shay Jelks | Staff Writer
Hampton basketball player Marquis Godwin reads to a class of children at Barron Elementary School. Photo approved by Hampton City Schools. By O’Shay Jelks
The old proverb “it takes a village to raise a child” was demonstrated vividly at Barron Elementary School when Hampton University’s basketball team entered the classrooms to read and inspire the youth, just before Halloween.
Five of the team’s players participated in the event along with two coaches: Marquis Godwin, Russell Dean, Daniel Banister, Kyrese Mullen, Coach Hamilton and Coach Saunders.
The principal of the school, Karen Johnson, said the overall goal was to show the students what happens when you put in hard work.
“I heard the HU basketball team continuously say to put hard work in, to stay focused and to work together over and over again with the kids,” said Johnson. “That really was the goal. I wanted them to see what they could be.”
Among the basketball players was a former student of Barron Elementary, Marquis Godwin, who caught the little Knight’s attention with his own piece of armor.
Walking down the halls as Black Panther, Godwin showed that this village created a family.
“Putting on the Black Panther costume represented togetherness, family and perseverance,” said Godwin. “I am a hometown kid of the Hampton community and having the privilege of playing collegiate basketball at Hampton University is a major blessing. This is the first of many community involvements that I will be doing, and I can’t wait to bring joy and happiness to my city.”
Along with Godwin, the other players had the little Knights actively engaged while they read and shared wise words. One class, in particular, was immersed in the conversations.
Walking into Ms. Spinelle’s first grade class, Daniel Banister, was greeted with open arms.
“I’m a big fan of you and Lebron James,” said Syenn, a first grade student.
After reading James’ book on how to play basketball, Banister proposed a question.
“Do you guys know what collaboration means,” asked Banister.
“I know, I know,” the first graders exclaimed as they raised their hands.
“Collaboration means working together,” one of the first graders said.
Heart-warmed by the response, Banister smiled and continued to tell the students the importance of collaborating with one’s team.
“Collaboration is going to bring everything I just told you guys together, and that’s what’s going to help you succeed,” said Banister. “When you bring perseverance, teamwork and working with others together, it will help you be successful in all areas of your life.”
Moving from room to room, the players ended the day with a good old-fashioned basketball game with the little Knights and left the school knowing they made their mark. Principal Johnson said the event was phenomenal and that the players were wonderful with the kids.
“They were able to communicate to them the important things: teamwork, hard work, perseverance, tolerance, and they also read stories and who doesn’t love that,” saidJohnson.
After the inspirational event, Johnson left her little Knights a piece of her own advice.
“Go out and be the amazing people we already know you are.”