Pubdate: Wed, 05 Apr 2006
Source: Times and Democrat, The (SC)
Copyright: 2006, The Times and Democrat
Author: Wendy Jeffcoat, T&D Staff Writer
Bookmark: (D.A.R.E.)
Bookmark: (Youth)


Braves, Johnny Bravo Show Students How To Pull It Off

On a mission to help children make smart choices, the Atlanta Braves 
Grand Slam Program made a stop at Felton Laboratory School on Tuesday.

Emphasizing the four keys to making a grand slam in life -- staying 
in school, reading, staying physically fit and staying drug-free -- 
the program, founded in 1990, helps young people realize that, "Just 
like the Braves players hit home runs on the baseball field, they too 
can hit home runs by following these keys in the classroom," said 
Keith Roberts, community affairs coordinator for the Atlanta Braves.

Roberts, who served as featured speaker at the event, was joined by 
Cartoon Network sensation Johnny Bravo and a video featuring several 
Braves players, including John Smoltz, Chipper Jones, Jeff Francoeur 
and Andruw Jones, to name a few, joined by Manager Bobby Cox and 
other members of the club stressing the importance of adhering to the 
four keys.

The lessons brought by the Braves did not fall on deaf ears. Children 
who attended the assembly learned about the importance of making good 
decisions through interaction, dance, humor and listening to sports 
idols share their vision of how to become successful.

Several students walked away with Braves paraphernalia after 
answering questions about the program, and each student at the school 
received a special treat from the ball club.

"It was great," said Felton 7th grader Markell Shuler. "I learned to 
stay in school, don't do drugs and read a lot." He said he plans to 
take that advice to heart now and in the future as he works toward 
his goal of becoming an aviator and engineer.

Rodolfo Miller, a 6th grader at the school, said he enjoyed the 
program as well and would have no problem following the keys to a 
grand slam, one reason being because he already enjoys reading fiction books.

As for Johnny Bravo's appearance, rocking the crowd with his smooth 
dance moves and playful banter with Felton teacher assistant Marilyn 
Walker, the future pediatrician said, "He was good. I liked the way he danced."

First grader Trajon Mack said the most important thing he learned was 
to stay away from drugs. He said that advice would come in handy as 
he makes plans to become a police officer.

First-year FLS Principal Dr. Vanessa Lancaster said since returning 
to South Carolina from the Georgia school system last year, she has 
been trying to incorporate some of the special programs she had at 
her former schools into her present work at Felton.

Lancaster said she has been negotiating with the Atlanta Braves since 
December to bring the Grand Slam Program to South Carolina State 
University's Felton Laboratory School, which educates 225 students in 
kindergarten through 8th grade.

"I think it's an excellent program because it emphasizes not doing 
drugs, staying in school, staying physically fit and making sure kids 
remember to read," she said. "I am honored they would come because 
they typically don't travel to South Carolina schools."

Felton's Drug and Alcohol Resistance Education officer Cpl. Herman 
Singletary said Tuesday's program reiterated what he constantly tries 
to teach his DARE students.

"I think they can benefit from this if they listen to the message," 
he said. "It's an incentive for them to do well, to continue making 
the right choices, not to come into violent situations.

"It was definitely educational for them as well as full of 
excitement. (The Grand Slam Program) was a very good idea, and we 
want to try to keep it going from this point on. It motivates them."

Lancaster said plans are for the Grand Slam Program to become an 
annual event at Felton.
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman