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Elementary students receive Royal treatment

By   Joe Mellenbruch

Published in Devils Lake Journal January 10, 2014

Lake Region State College basketball fans can always catch their home town Royals at the Devils Lake Sports Center for home games, but this week, local elementary school students got to see them in the classroom.

The LRSC men's basketball team visited all four Devils Lake elementary schools on Tuesday and Wednesday morning with players offering their time and assistance to the students during various activities and assignments.

Some colored and drew with the children. Others helped with reading and math. And the students seemed to enjoy it every step of the way.

That's according to Sweetwater Elementary School principal Debra Follman, who was thrilled with the presence of LRSC student-athletes in the classrooms. In fact, she's hoping to make it a regular occurrence.

"We've had a number of volunteers work with the students, but it's been a while since we've had college students, and it's been even longer since we've had athletes," said Follman, who was named 'National Distinguished Principal' by the North Dakota Association of Elementary School Principals in May of 2010. "I've had talks with Joe (Kittell) about having the players back here soon."

The students really seemed to respond to the LRSC athletes, welcoming them immediately into their activities.

Follman certainly noticed that while supervising the classrooms at Sweetwater.

"I walked into all four classrooms," Follman said, "and every teacher had nothing but good things to say about the volunteers."

The elementary school students weren't the only ones to be rewarded for the experience. Lake Region State players seemed energized by the prospect of helping out young kids in the classroom, and that energy only strengthened the connections that developed between the children and the LRSC student athletes.

Diallo Powel (@DialloPowell) tweeted shortly after his Tuesday morning shift: "Had fun with the little elementary kids at Sweetwater this morning. Always good to put smiles on kids faces!"

Malik Durant-Haines (@HainesMalik) also shared his experience with the social media universe: "Had a good day with the 2nd graders"

Perhaps the shared interest from both the LRSC squad and elementary school administrators will see this volunteer effort continue after its inaugural week.

It goes without saying, but the children would have absolutely no problem with that.