For the second year in a row, Avon Heritage Elementary School students have participated in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Baseball Adopt-A-Team Program. The students are paired with baseball players representing the MAC schools that participate in the tournament held each year at All Pro Freight Stadium in Avon. They become pen pals and correspond via handwritten letters (no emails). More than 400 students participated this year.
The program creates relationships between players and students, allows students a new avenue for learning and communicating, enables them to learn about different college majors and careers, creates a community base for MAC schools traveling to All Pro Freight Stadium and generates interest in the sport of baseball and MAC baseball.
“Many students shared their interests and goals in life such as what sports they play, how many pets they have, and what colleges they like,” said Heritage teacher Julie Radigan. “The students were encouraged to ask their pen pal questions about playing baseball in college and what they like to do in their free time.”
The pen pal communication is also valuable as many children often do not write handwritten notes anymore in a generation that relies heavily on texts and emails for communicating.
“Going through the letter writing process, practicing addressing an envelope, and then receiving a response gives them just a glimpse of what all communication used to be,” said Radigan. “This is a great opportunity for the writing process to ‘come alive’ for children. Many times they go through drafting, editing, and revising stories or formal writing, but this project was a little bit different and rewarding for the students. It is amazing how exciting it can be to receive a letter from a college baseball player. It seems as though athletes are idols for many kids, and this just helped make those feelings stronger.”
The students will participate in a special “Meet and Greet” with their pen pal players on the eve of the MAC tournament. The actual tournament runs May 25-29. Heritage Guidance Counselor, Jessica Stringer will throw out the first pitch May 25 at 4:30 p.m. For tournament information, go to www.mac-sports.com/tournaments/?id=48