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Released August 28, 2003


HATTIESBURG - Students at The University of Southern Mississippi's DuBard School for Language Disorders will get a special treat on Thursday, Sept. 11, in the form of a visit from some of their gridiron heroes - members of the Southern Miss Golden Eagle football squad.

For the 10th year in a row, the DuBard School will host Black and Gold Day, a chance for students to get to know the Golden Eagles coaches and players, and vice versa. Black and Gold Day will get started at 11 a.m.

DuBard School Director Dr. Maureen Martin said that it was a day the students were very much looking forward to.

"Athletes are such powerful role models for children," Martin said. "It really means a lot for them to go into a classroom and see the work that somebody is doing, or read a story that someone has written. It gives the children encouragement that they're doing a good job, and working hard to learn all these things. It's a very special day for our children and our staff."

In honor of Black and Gold Day, children and instructors at the school will all be dressed in black and gold. When the coaches and players arrive at the school, they will spend time visiting with the children in their classrooms, and may even find themselves involved in the curriculum.

"Our teachers usually get very creative," Martin said, "and they often have stories written about the coaches or players or the mascot. We take our basic curriculum and try to do some special things for Black and Gold Day."

After a period of interaction in the classroom, Black and Gold Day will move into the school's cafeteria, where the students will urge the team to victory with a pep rally.

Eleven-year-old Kristian Broome, a student at DuBard, said that she is eagerly anticipating Black and Gold Day.

"It was fun last year," Broome said. "We went to the lunch room and all the players signed autographs and we did a cheer.

Another student, 10-year-old Kenny Bryant, said, "Last year it was fun to meet the players and the coach."

Martin said that over the years, Black and Gold Day has provided a meaningful experience between the football team and the students.

"It's really interesting," Martin said, "because the players who have never been here before, I can usually read on their faces 'What am I doing here?' Usually by the time they're leaving, the children and the players have bonded. It's really a wonderful experience."

Black and Gold Day is also instilling Eagle Fever in some young football fans, many of whom already view themselves as members of the Southern Miss family.

"Many of our children, when asked where they go to school, say they go to school at Southern Miss," Martin said.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM