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In the midst of preparing for the state semifinal game with Bowling Green High School, seniors on the John Hardin High School football team spent time with their youngest fans.
The seniors visited Heartland Elementary School this past week to read to students and talk with them about football and the importance of academic achievement. Members of the team have visited the school for the past several years, Head Coach Chad Lewis said.
“It’s just a good opportunity for our guys to give back to the community, so to speak,” Lewis said.
Along with reading to the students, players fielded a variety of questions and comments, from stories about the students’ siblings to a debate about who is the strongest team member.
“He’s pretty strong, but I’m pretty strong too, “ senior Marcus Goree diplomatically answered when the question was posed to him and senior Austin Liang.
It’s that kind of interaction Lewis feels benefits his students.
“It just teaches you how to be a better person. It’s a lot of growing up,” he said.
Senior Dimitri Cooper said it’s good for the players to stress the importance of academics to their younger counterparts.
“I feel like it’s good for the kids to see role models in the community,” Cooper said.
Senior Patrick Anderson said the Heartland students need real heroes.
“That really makes you feel good to know that you impacted their life,” he said.
The partnership also helps change the perception of players, senior Koufax Stephens said.
“It shows that we’re just not brutes and jocks,” Stephens said.
First-grade teacher Mary Borders feels the partnership solidifies the relationship between the two schools and gives a glimpse of the future to her students.
“They will continue to be Bulldogs when they leave Heartland,” she said.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at 270-505-1747 or kcantrall@