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(Story submitted by St. Dominic Principal Pam Breunig.)
The St. Catharine College men’s basketball team won’t begin regular season play until Thursday, but they are already scoring points with students at St. Dominic.
The school recently began partnering with the Patriot Pals program at St. Catharine College. Patriot Pals is a mentoring program that matches SCC basketball players and students at schools in Washington County. The program, which has been going on for a number of years, is coordinated by Patriots Head Coach J.T. Burton. At St. Dominic, the Patriot Pals visit Tammy Sallee’s fourth-grade language arts class on Friday afternoons. The program runs through March.
According to Burton, “Patriot Pals is a program that we have enjoyed doing the past couple of years. The players, along with the coaching staff, enjoy interacting with the students.”
For many of the Patriot Pals members, working with students in a small, rural community like Washington County is a unique experience.
“We have players from all over the country,” Burton said. “For them to come to a small school like St. Dominic is something new for them. Most of them come from inner city schools that have several hundred students.”
For students at St. Dominic School, the program gives them the opportunity to spend time in the classroom with college athletes who know that being on a sports team involves far more than practice and games. As Patriot Pals, they demonstrate that they must be focused on education, committed to community service and dedicated to being role models for younger kids. Students summed up the Patriot Pals’ visits in one word: “Awesome!”
Sallee, who teaches fourth through sixth grade language arts at St. Dominic, had high praise for the Patriot Pals and looked forward to working with them.
“They were well-mannered and worked hard with the students,” she said. “The students were in awe of them.”
Burton added, “Patriot Pals is a great experience for all of us.”