GMU Athletes Team Up with Lanier MS Students
A dozen George Mason University wrestlers showed up at Lanier Middle School this week to share inspiring words of wisdom, experience, and encouragement as part of an expanding partnering initiative between the school and the university. When the team coach asked a roomful of band students “Who does a sport?” dozens of hands shot up.
Coach Frank Beasley smiled, nodded and responded, “That’s great! Sports are great and can potentially open up doors and opportunities, but I tell everyone; don’t forget to focus on education. Try to learn as much as you can from every experience.”
Lanier students listened intently as each member of the wrestling team introduced themselves and shared a bit of their life’s background and story. Several young men shared the theme: “Try new things. Don’t be afraid to fail. Attack the obstacles in your path. Most importantly, believe in yourself.”
Mason mentors are not new to Lanier. Last year, Providence Elementary partnered with the GMU baseball team and feedback was positive.
Eating lunch with the players, spending recess time together, and serving as positive role models help create connections and start positive conversations about career paths, grades, and following their dreams.
City of Fairfax Schools Superintendent Phyllis Pajardo is an advocate for the program. “This will help our students see ‘what’s possible,’” she said. “When you put a positive model in front of a student, they can clearly see that these young adults are not all that different from them. It can help students consider their own futures and realize the importance of staying in school.”
The band played a rousing rendition of the Pharrell tune “Happy,” the athletes cheered them on, and the inspirational morning concluded with everyone’s favorite part of the day: lunch.