Spotlights
Chatsworth School receives visit from ‘famous’ guests
01/29/2014

Spotlight

Sometimes, a mentor is a teacher or a coach and, other times, a mentor is an older sibling or neighbor. But rarely is a mentor "famous."

"Look, we have the famous Franklin football players here today!" shouted Mikhai Norwood, a Grade 3 student at Chatsworth School. "We are so lucky."

Norwood's observation was on-target: Winners of the State Championships, eight Franklin High School football players visited Norwood and five of his fellow classmates on December 19 for an afternoon of art projects, conversation and, of course, football.

The student athletes and the Chatsworth students created 'funny and creative' snowmen, and while they created their snowmen, they got to know one another by engaging in dialogue.

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Among the topics discussed over the arts and crafts were the importance of self-discipline, the consequences of poor choices and the necessity of good decision-making.

The athletes shared their coach's expectations and what happens when they do not earn good grades or if a player makes poor choices. The athletes explained to the Chatsworth students that their coaches have a 'three strikes and you're out' policy – three discipline problems and they are off the team.

After completing their snowmen, the Chatsworth students followed their Franklin High mentors outside to see the champions in action and learn a trick or two about football – and basketball! – in the process. In the fields and on the court, respectively, the students improved their techniques in drill exercises and sharpened their dribbling skills.

On the afternoon, Mekhi Thomas, a Grade 5 student at Chatsworth School, mentioned, "I like meeting with the athletes. The best part is doing the art activities and the football drills with the high school students. [Interacting with the Franklin High football players] is fun!"

At 3:25 p.m. on that Thursday afternoon, the eventful visit ended on a high note with a group huddle.

The athletes' visit was part of mentoring partnership between Chatsworth and Franklin High schools. Chatsworth staff members involved in coordinating this partnership include assistant principal Kelly O'Connell, art teacher Joe Gibison and classroom teacher Anne McManus.  Through the partnership, Chatsworth students who demonstrate a commitment to improving their conduct are selected to participate in the mentorship program with Franklin High athletes who serve as academic and social role models. On Thursday afternoons from 2:40 p.m. to 3:25 p.m., the students and athletes convene for crafts and sports. In the coming months, the program will expand to include students from Franklin High's chapter of Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC).

The Franklin High students have shared that they cannot wait to go back to Chatsworth again and do more for the students. The Chatsworth students ask Assistant Principal O'Connell every day when the athletes will be back. They truly look forward to Thursdays and cannot wait until the next visit. This was a mutually-gratifying experience for students at Chatsworth and Franklin High.

Story idea and photos submitted by Nancy Braverman, media specialist, Chatsworth School. Spotlight written by Blake Lubinski, intern in the BCPS Office of Communications.
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