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November 14, 2011

Lacrosse team dresses up for local elementary school's Fall Festival

By: Marc Mullen

The Halloween season is definitely one holiday when adults channel their inner child and enjoy parties as if they were still 10 years old. No group proves this point more than members of the Virginia Tech lacrosse team, who, for the past six years, have worked at adopted school Harding Avenue Elementary’s annual Fall Festival.

The event, which was held Oct. 28 at the school, featured food, games, a costume contest, a cakewalk and a haunted hallway. For the Tech student-athletes, it is certainly an event they look forward to, especially the dressing up part.

“Our team loves to dress up for stuff. Even if we didn’t have to, we still would probably dress up,” senior Ryan Rotanz said. “It’s also kind of a secret. You get ‘What are you going to be for Harding?’ and you can’t tell anyone. You have to wait. Last year, some of them were really good. Three of the girls dressed up as the coaches, so we have fun with it, definitely.”

“Yeah, we’ve dressed up since our freshman year. You want to always outdo yourself come the next year,” senior Julie Wolfinger said. “We really do have fun with it. We look forward to it every year, and we’re glad we do it.”

As much as the lacrosse players enjoy the event, the administrators are thankful for the help. The entire team, which includes the coaches, show up before the start to help with set-up, run games and refreshments during the event, and help with cleanup afterward.

However, Harding Avenue Principal Meggan Marshall is quick to point out it’s the constant interaction of the players throughout the year that is really appreciated.

“Well, they not only help us with the Fall Festival, but they also help us year round with lots of activities,” she said. “They come in and volunteer as lunch buddies with our kids, they’re recess buddies with our kids, they do tutoring, they volunteer in the classrooms and they are just tremendous for our entire student body. It’s been a very nice relationship we’ve had with them.

“The kids love having the Tech students involved in our lives. In general, all of our students are huge Tech fans, and so to actually get to hang out and have them as mentors in their lives, they really enjoy it. They form bonds and friendships, and, I think, the lacrosse team members get a lot out of it as well. I think they enjoy their experiences here because they offer more than the minimum time.”

Given the players’ love of the event and the school and the kids’ love of them, this partnership will surely be continued into the future.