BALTIMORE – The UMBC men's and women's basketball teams joined forces to put their knowledge and skills to great use on Friday, July 10, by visiting the Higher Achievement Center at Lakeland Elementary-Middle School in Baltimore to participate in the Friday Center Fun Day.
Higher Achievement implements a rigorous year-round learning environment through afterschool and summer academic programming to close the opportunity gap for middle school youth in at-risk communities.
"I had a great time bonding with my teammates, while also making a positive impact throughout the community," said sophomore guard Rodney Elliott (Baltimore, Md./John Carroll). "Being from Baltimore city, I understand the struggles and challenges that these kids face every day. I wanted to make sure that they realized that anything can be possible through hard work, dedication and perseverance."
The UMBC basketball student-athletes and Higher Achievement scholars got to know each other through an entertaining name game that ultimately challenged individuals to recite the names of the more than 40 participants in the exercise. The UMBC student-athletes followed by sharing their athletic skills with scholars through stations focused on the fundamentals of basketball. Everyone got their competitive juices flowing through multiple games of team relay races, "knock-out" and team shooting competitions.
The visit was not all fun and games though, the Retriever sat down for a Q & A with the scholars to share their perspectives on what helped them achieve their goals of attending college and competing as a Division I student-athlete. Members of both teams expressed the importance of discipline, hard work, time management and sacrifice in helping them achieve their goals.
"It was rewarding to share our experience with a great group of kids who were eager to learn from us about all facets of being a student-athlete," junior guard Emily Russo (Woodbine, Md./Glenelg) said. "I feel that I was able to learn a lot from them, while teaching them about my life as a college student."