HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP)- Similar to being greeted by fans on game day, UMass student-athletes were greeted by dozens of students at Morgan Elementary School in Holyoke this morning.
Minutemen football players and cheerleaders brought students school supplies that were collected during a school supply drive at their home opener.
The student-athletes said they were grateful to visit students in other western Massachusetts communities.
“Growing up I never had the opportunity to meet any D-1 athletes in my area so I feel like it’s important to give back to a community so kids have someone they can look up to that has been through the same circumstances that they have been through,” Senior UMass football player James Bowe said.
UMass athletes donated about 174 lbs. of school supplies that will be distributed to other schools in the district as well.
The minutemen also provided Morgan Elementary students and faculty with discounted tickets to football and basketball games.
UMass student-athletes hope that these new school supplies help students realize that it is just as important to be successful in the classroom as it is on the field.
“Students do come first because that is our main priority and at the end of the day we are in college for an education and academics do come first and instilling that in kids now is really important going forward,” UMass sophomore cheerleader Melissa Francois said.
Morgan Elementary School Principal Steven Moguel said he was grateful for the visit.
“They need to be doing well in school and having connections with student-athletes is an amazing thing for kids and something they can eventually live up to.”