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Islanders@School Visits Brooklyn

by Travis Betts / New York Islanders

The Islanders took their first steps into the Brooklyn community, as the Islanders@School program visited two schools this week in the borough that will become the team’s home beginning in 2015. After visiting P.S. 65 on Tuesday, the school assembly program stopped at P.S. 346 Abe Stark Thursday morning for a special presentation. Mascot “Sparky” and arena hostess Dina taught students the importance of working as a team, eating healthy and making smart decisions as part of the Islanders@School program.

The students also got to watch a video featuring Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano, Assistant Coaches Brent Thompson and Doug Weight, Video Coach Matt Bertani and Director of Sports Performance Sean Donellan, who reinforced the message, citing everyday applications that those lessons have inside and outside the classroom.

Dina and Sparky kept the audience of 500 engaged throughout the presentation with physical exercises and even a teamwork exercise involving two students on stage in front of the packed auditorium. Pitting students vs. teachers, the program went through several exercises to demonstrate the importance of working together. In every case, the students working together were more successful than their teacher working alone.

“I think the kids are taking a lot of teamwork activities out of the assembly,” Karleen Baumann, one of the teachers who participated in the contest, said. “They got up on stage and they were able to interact. It was really great. They are taking a lot of life skills back home with them to share with their families.”

When the students arrived back at their classrooms following the assembly, they received Islanders pencils, stickers and folders, as well as a form join the Islanders Kids Club and participate in the Blades for Grades program. Any student in the program who shows vast improvement in their studies or earns an “A” on a test, quiz or report card will be rewarded with two free tickets to an Islanders game.

Many of the students and teachers were excited about the Islanders upcoming move to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center in 2015, a more easily reachable destination for hockey fans in the borough.

“We’re definitely excited about that,” Allyson Glynn, another teacher, said. “We had some discussions in the classroom about it and they seemed really excited that it would be closer to home for them to go.”


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