BY TIMOTHY RAMSEY
The Lady Warcats will kick off their basketball season in about a month’s time. As a way to give back to the community, they donated tickets to the UniverSoul Circus to students of Ashley Academy last week.
Regina Strickland, director of Marketing and Advertising for the Lady Warcats, said she connected with Jernetta Johnson, who works at Ashley Academy, at church and they discussed ways the Lady Warcats could volunteer at the school by reading and visiting with the kids.
About a month later, Strickland came back to Johnson with the idea of the circus and the plan blossomed from there. The kids who won the tickets were raffle winners from the school and ranged from kindergarten to fifth grade.
Johnson was accompanied by Jenaya Abernathy and Lindsay Lee, two players from the Lady Warcats team. They spoke to the children about the team and gave them advice about how to be a successful student.
“This was great and I was glad to be able to come out and talk with them,” Lee said. “I just wanted to let them know that when you have goals education is very important. It’s all about the kids because you have to reach them while they are young.”
Abernathy added, “it was a blessing for me because it actually made me feel like a kid again. It’s like I went back in time so to speak and I got a chance to see what I look like in their eyes by just giving back and being genuine with them. Just to be able to give them words of wisdom that I wish I could have gotten from older people when I was their age made this all worth it.”
Scarlet Linville Ashley Academy Principal, said she was really happy for the Lady Warcats to come in and speak to the children. She says many have never been to the circus so this is a life changing experience for them.
“We are really excited when the community comes in and shows the kids options with their education,” Linville continued. “This is a great reinforcement of positive behavior because we are focusing on that here. I like the fact they shared their personal stories about hard work and commitment because that’s what it takes.”
Strickland was happy to begin a relationship between Ashley and the Lady Warcats. She says this is the beginning of many more visits from the team.
“When we first thought of the idea I was of course excited because we want to make sure we stay connected with the community,” added Strickland. “We just wanted to take it to another level and we will come and do things with the kids on an academic level however to make this really exciting we decided to bless the kids with a trip to the circus.”
In the future, the Lady Warcats plan to come back to Ashley and read to the kids and other classroom