Nov. 24, 2009
Notre Dame, Ind. - Growing up, every child has dreams of what they would like to be when they are older. Some aspire to fly to the moon as astronauts, some wish to be doctors or nurses while others dream of playing sports in front of sellout crowds at Notre Dame.
"Since I was young I have always dreamed about playing sports at the highest level," said football and baseball player junior Golden Tate. "When I was younger my dad played at Tennessee State University and I was able to get on the sidelines after their games. I remember there was one a player who was always waiting to talk to me after the game. That meant a lot to me. He really helped inspire me to get where I am today."
"After I am done playing soccer I would like to become a nurse and then one day I would like to become a mom and have a family," said women's soccer player junior Julie Scheidler.
Just before Thanksgiving break, over a dozen Notre Dame Monogram winners comprised of current and former Irish student-athletes from a variety of sports joined Tate and Scheidler to share their dreams and inspire the students of Perley Elementary School during the Liefworks Dream Team Assembly.
With encouraging music being played over school's speakers, over 300 kindergarten through fourth grade students made their way to the gymnasium. As the students walked in the doors they were each greeted with high-fives, handshakes and smiles from some of their favorite student-athletes.
During the assembly, student-athletes emphasized the importance of having dreams. They then demonstrated how important it is to listen, work hard individually and work well with others in order to achieve their dreams.
"Having Notre Dame student-athletes come here today means a lot to me and to my students," said Perley Elementary School principal Darice Austin-Philips. "Without these student-athletes and Lifeworks, some of our students might not understand the importance of having goals and dreams so I am very thankful to have them here reaching out to our kids."
In the days leading up to the assembly both students and teachers at Perley were looking forward to having the Irish student-athletes visit their school.
"Over the last few days teachers have been coming to tell me how excited their students are for the assembly" Phillips said. "The teachers are excited as well, because they know the positive message the athletes are bringing here and the type of impact they can have in the lives of their students."
The assembly was equally rewarding for the student-athletes who relished in the opportunity to work with the youngsters.
"I really like working with kids and it is something I would to continue doing in the future, said Notre Dame wide receiver junior Michael Floyd. " When I was young I had a lot of help to get me where I am today, so having the chance to work with these kids is very exciting for me and it makes me happy."
"The kids are what made today so special for me," said Notre Dame senior and Irish former soccer player Amber Lattner. "If we were able to inspire just one kid then today was a huge success."
Following the 45 minute assembly the student-athletes made their way to the library to take pictures and sign autographs on everything from posters to t-shirts and even a few of the children's arms.
One Perley student in the library was special though and caught the eye of the student-athletes.
Riley Crawford is an avid fan of Irish athletics but he is not your average third grader. He suffers from a brittle bone disease that currently has him confined to a wheelchair with a broken leg.
With his mom emotionally watching on, each student-athlete took turns to sign Riley's cast. Once it was full of signatures, they all gathered around Riley and smiled big like him to take one last special photo for the day.
"It was really emotional for me to watch because I know how much this means to him, Riley's mother Carly Crawford. "But this is about more than just my son, to see the joy on all the other kid's faces means a lot too. Having all these Notre Dame athletes out here, it really makes these kids feel important and like they can do anything they dream of."