On Jan. 4, kindergarten through eighth graders from Our Lady of Mercy (OLM) School were treated to a presentation by Harlem Globetrotter "Hot Shot" Branch and Eugene "Wild Kat" Edgerson. OLM was selected out of all Nassau County schools due to its more than 20 years of support to Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
"Hot Shot" and "Wildkat" discussed the Globetrotter's C.H.E.E.R. for Character Program. Character education involves getting kids to care about school and each other in order to better prepare students for the challenges they will soon face as young adults. The C.H.E.E.R program focuses on cooperation, healthy mind and body, effort, enthusiasm and responsibility. Combining the important messages of the program with student participation, along with signature Harlem Globetrotter ball handling and humor, provides a well-balanced program that informs and entertains.
Students Calvin Ingrim, Joseph Di Miceli, Toni Ketcham, Kristian Green and Allison Eichler were picked to define the words that C.H.E.E.R stands for: Cooperation, Healthy Mind and Body, Effort, Enthusiasm and Responsibility. These five students then formed the Globetrotters Magic Circle to the tune of Sweet Georgia Brown and were taught a Globetrotter routine.
The students were very responsive to "Wild Kat" and "Hot Shot's" message. "We have been born with two heads, one to think with, one to sit on," said "Hot Shot." "Your success depends on which one you choose."
"Wild Kat" Edgerson is a graduate of the University of Arizona where he won a national championship in 1997. Standing 6'7", he is the only player in the school's rich basketball history to play in two Final Fours. Edgerson earned his master's degree in elementary education and said he would be a kindergarten teacher were he not traveling the world with the Globetrotters.
"Hot Shot" Branch graduated with a degree in communications from Baylor University and hopes to obtain his Ph.D. in education after touring with the Globetrotters. Branch also holds Baylor University's record for three pointers made in a season.
Both men entertained the student body with their ball handling skills and stories of the Globetrotters' daily life on the road. The players stressed the importance of not only staying in school but excelling at it and obtaining advanced degrees. The Globetrotters talked to OLM students about the importance of working hard to obtain goals and keeping a healthy mind and body.