"Class at the Court" Brings Over 550 Local Students to UNH
"Class at the Court" Brings Over 550 Local Students to UNH

by Andrew Beardsley
Assistant Director of Athletics for Athletics Communications

The women's basketball program hosted its second annual “Class at the Court” event on campus earlier this month. The event engaged fourth-grade students from West Haven in experiential learning and community engagement sessions with UNH faculty and introduced them to the college environment.

More than 550 students arrived at 10 a.m. and broke into small groups, with student-athletes from the women's basketball team as well as other Charger athletic teams serving as campus guides. The hands-on experiences included sessions with UNH professors and students on the subjects of language arts, science and math.

More than 500 local students took part in "Class at the Court" put on by the women's basketball team.

“The relationship between UNH, the city of West Haven and the public schools in general is a great relationship,” said West Haven mayor Ed O'Brien. “This experience gives our children real-world, practical uses for what they're learning."

In the language arts session, the students learned important tips for writing a news article and were treated to a tour and demonstration in the campus television studio.

In their second breakout session, students toured the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science. As part of the math session at the David A. Beckerman Recreation Center, the women's basketball team shot free throws as students recorded the success rate and calculated their shooting percentages as fractions. Then students enjoyed lunch provided by Sodexo in Bartels Hall.

“Hopefully we can expose the students to what we have at the University and begin to challenge them to look at the excitement of learning and see what college is all about," said Deborah Chin, associate vice president and director of athletics and recreation. “We hope they will continue to do well in school and ultimately come and join us at the University of New Haven.”

The fourth graders concluded their day at the women's basketball game against Saint Anselm at Charger Gymnasium. The students were greeted by Charlie the Charger and the entire Department of Athletics staff, who presented them with t-shirts and gift bags. While in the stands, the students could be heard throughout the contest cheering for the Chargers and chanting "defense" during crucial moments.

In addition to Mayor O'Brien, the event attracted dignitaries from across the community, including West Haven superintendent of schools Neil Cavallaro, West Haven coordinator of health, physical education and athletics Jon Capone and many of the principals from the West Haven public schools.

"Class at the Court" activities will finish when the women's basketball team once again visits each of the fourth grade classrooms to follow up on the lessons from each experiential learning session. During their visits, the team will collect press releases written by the students about the game they watched. The team will pick the press releases that best describes the event and the New Haven Register will print the winning articles as part of their sponsorship with the event.

The participating schools from the West Haven School District were Forest School, Seth G. Haley Elementary School, Mackrille School, Pagels School, Savin Rock Community School and Washington School. The event sponsors included Sodexo, the New Haven Register, Gatorade and the Connecticut National Guard.

"Class at the Court" is part of the UNH Department of Athletics’ broader community engagement efforts, which seek to help the surrounding towns and community organizations while providing opportunities for student-athletes and coaches to give back to their communities.

The "Class at the Court" event also helped introduce students to the "Charge into the Future" initiative – a partnership with West Haven Public Schools that will provide half-tuition scholarships to all West Haven High School graduates admitted to the University as full-time students.

View a gallery of photos.

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