The stands at Centennial Center were packed as more than 2,600 elementary and middle school students took part in the first Baldwin County Public Schools Day at Georgia College. They cheered as they watched the men’s and women’s basketball games Dec. 16
“We knew we were coming, but we didn’t know what to expect,” said Dyson Sallad, a fifth-grader at Blandy Hills Elementary. “First, I looked at my friends, and we were like ‘oh my gosh; we’re going to a basketball game. This is legit.’”
For the school children, the excitement came not only from a love of the game of basketball, but also for the experience of being on a college campus.
“It is very interesting because when we get older we are going to experience a lot of this like dorms and fraternities and sororities,” said Emma Evans, a fifth-grader at Blandy Hills Elementary. “I’m very excited to watch them play, and I can learn a little bit about basketball too and just get excited and have fun.”
Along with the students cheering in stands, the Oak Hill Middle School Band and cheerleaders performed at the game.
“Hopefully there’s Bobcat pride permeating throughout our county,” said Wendell Staton, director of athletics. “It’s a great day for Baldwin County. It’s a great day for our university. It’s a great engagement activity and that’s what we are looking for.”
The doubleheader brought W’s for both the Georgia College men’s and women’s teams. But there were wins off the court too, fostering and building relationships among Georgia College, the Baldwin County School District and the surrounding community.
“We have been working on strengthening our partnership between the school district and Georgia College,” said Dr. Noris Price, Baldwin County School superintendent. “I had the opportunity to start this partnership with the University of Georgia in Clarke County when I was deputy superintendent there, and this was one of the activities that we did to engage our students and get them on to the college campus. So when I came here, I presented the idea, and it was well received.”
Both Price and Staton say they plan to continue to provide this opportunity to students and possibly even expand it in the future.
“I hope they take away the idea that college is an opportunity for every single one of our students and that we want them to stay here at home and attend Georgia College or the other institutions of higher learning we have in our community,” said Price.