Men's Basketball Team Visits with Cesar Chavez 6th Graders in Washington, D.C.

The Georgetown men's basketball team visited with sixth graders at Cesar Chavez Charter School for Public Policy last week.

Sept. 1, 2014

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WASHINGTON - Some of the kids asked them why they chose Georgetown. Others asked how much they have to practice. Still, others asked `How much homework do they get?' And then others were asking, `What does it feel like to be so tall?' and `Why do you have such big feet?'

But it made for a fun morning for the members of the Georgetown men's basketball team last week, who spent part of their visit answering questions and talking with sixth graders at Cesar Chavez Charter School for Public Policy in the Parkside neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

The Hoyas, who visited the school as part of a relationship with Georgetown's Center for Social Justice, arrived at the school in the Northeast section of the District, early in the morning and split into groups. The groups were led by the team's seniors, Tyler Adams (Brandon, Miss./Brandon), Aaron Bowen (Jacksonville, Fla./QEA [N.C.]), Mikael Hopkins (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha), Joshua Smith (Kent, Wash./Kentwood) and Jabril Trawick (Philadelphia, Pa./Abington Friends).

The players spoke to the sixth graders about the importance of hard work in their academics and graduating from high school and college. The high school graduation rate in D.C. is 56 percent.

"I wish I had something like this when I was back in middle school," junior center Bradley Hayes (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood) said. "I know my school didn't have anyone come back and tell us what it was like in college. I don't think I would have had such a hard time my freshman year, but I think they all had fun."

Each group began by introducing themselves and telling about their backgrounds. And while the players were prepared to ask the sixth graders about their lives, the youngsters were more than ready with questions of their own.

"Going in, we didn't really know what to expect because we remembered when we were kids in school too," Smith said. "They had a lot of really good questions. They asked why we played basketball and another girl asked why we chose Georgetown specifically."

After their visit in the classroom, the team and the sixth graders went to the gymnasium. There, the Hoyas went through some shooting and dunking drills and took photos with the kids.

"Any time we get the chance to represent the University, it is special," Smith said. "It doesn't matter if we're on the court, it doesn't matter if we're at school, it doesn't matter if we're at another school. They had a million questions and kids saying, `I want to go play basketball there.' Georgetown is a prestigious school and kids know the name so it's special."

For Hopkins, a native of the D.C. area, the visit had special meaning.

"It's good to come back and go to the local schools and talk to the kids," he said. "I was in their position once. I went to a public charter school in the area. I went to high school in the area. I didn't have the chance to have a college athlete come back and talk to me about their experiences. I think it can have a big impact on their lives and give them a heads up on what's to come."

This was one of several visits in the community for the Hoyas, who have helped serve food to the homeless at SOME (So Others May Eat) and spent time speaking to students at Hart Middle School last year. "I felt it was a really good experience," Hopkins said. "We've been able to do this a lot, from helping out at SOME and visiting another school, and I think it can really impact the kids."

Whether they are from the D.C. area or not, the players said they just enjoyed the experience of visiting with the kids. "In a way, I'm giving back," Hayes said. "I can't go home and do this myself, I can come here and make an impact on someone else's life somewhere else. That's a big deal in my book."



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