BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Coming off a historic NCAA Tournament run and one of the best seasons in program history, the Lehigh men’s basketball team wasted no time making a difference in the community, visiting Donegan Community School on Monday. With school underway across Bethlehem, head coach Brett Reed and senior C.J. McCollum attended the local elementary school’s pep rally and delivered a message to the youngsters regarding the importance of education, respecting yourself and discipline (among many others).
The Mountain Hawks have made a commitment to community service outreach, consistently visiting Nitschmann Middle School along with Donegan and Hanover Elementary School in past years. The focus of Monday’s pep rally was centered around transforming Donegan into a community and based on the variety of important faces in the crowd, the school was able to create a very exciting atmosphere.
Reed talked about the importance of being dedicated to achieving success in the classroom as well as the basketball court, while using McCollum as an example.
“It’s an opportunity to learn and grow for the young students that we came in contact with,” said Reed. “We’ve got great examples of people who really value both school and athletics, but merge both and never compromise doing well in the classroom day in and day out.”
The team believes it’s important to give back to the community, mainly to the kids at this key moment in their lives. Reed and McCollum were sure to use some life examples of hard work and dedication to prove to them that anything in life is possible, if you apply yourself. They seemed very enthusiastic about their first day of school and there were many other important members from the community present as well.
“This wasn’t about Lehigh basketball. It was about the community,” said Reed
The overall message delivered by Reed and McCollum was education, consistently respecting peers and working hard to turn dreams into reality.
The team wanted to solidify the fact that Lehigh has more than just student-athletes, but members of the community willing to go the extra mile for kids in need of positive influence and guidance.
“I think it’s good to make sure people realize we don’t just play basketball and go to class; we try to give back to the community first and foremost,” said McCollum. “I told the kids that if you want to be a doctor, lawyer or professional athlete, you have to make sure you are taking care of business at a young age.”
The team showed its dedication to the community by sharing their core principles with the students, while getting away from campus and connecting with future leaders of the next generation.
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