First-graders’ advice for Shockers: ‘Tie your shoes’

03/28/2013 4:56 PM

08/25/2013 9:02 AM

Listen up, Shockers.

If you want to beat LaSalle and advance to the Elite Eight, first-graders in Rachel Ely’s class at College Hill Elementary School have some sage advice.

“Shoot the ball at the square over the rim,” wrote Alex Fulton.

“Focus on the basket,” said Travon Johnson. “Don’t look down. Someone might steal the ball.

“And don’t forget to tie your shoes.”

Ely, a Kansas Newman grad and Wichita State season-ticket-holder, said she was excited by the Shockers’ victory over Gonzaga on Friday and thought over the weekend about how her first-graders might show their support for the home team.

On Monday, she had the students write “letters of advice” to Coach Gregg Marshall and his players. They were compiled into a book and delivered to the team before they left for the Los Angeles earlier this week.

“Try hard to beat LaSalle,” Ava Amore wrote.

“I believe in you because you are the best team.”

Ely said the writing exercise was a fun way to capitalize on Wichita’s excitement over the Shockers’ performance and practice their writing skills.

“We brainstormed some ideas in class. I asked, ‘What would we tell the players if they were in our classroom right now?’ ” Ely said Thursday.

“I wrote some things on the board, and then they sat down and wrote letters.”

The students offered great advice and some words of warning, like this from Ethan Hurley:

“My dad yells if you do not make a basket and the other team does.”

Several children reminded the players to keep their shoes tied, Ely said. Not surprising, since they hear that from their teacher several times a day.

“We work really hard in first grade to make sure our shoes are tied, so no one trips or has their shoes come off,” Ely said. “I guess they’re listening.”

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