If Dr. Linda Gilbert and about 7,000 screaming Murfreesboro City Schools students have their way, the Education Day partnership with MTSU and the Lady Raiders basketball team will never end.
Gilbert, the City Schools director and an MTSU alumna, watched and listened as students from the system’s 12 schools screamed and yelled, helping to propel the Lady Raiders to a 69-39 victory against visiting Coppin State Tuesday, Dec. 5, in Murphy Center.
While rain ruled outside, the Murphy Center event marked the sixth straight year of the Education Day game — and the sixth straight year that the youngsters have watched coach Rick Insell’s team win.
The annual field trip gives the children the opportunity to visit the athletic side of the MTSU campus and have fun as they near their holiday break from school.
“It grows every year, and we have more students attend every year,” Gilbert said. “This is a one-day snap-shot of the partnership we have with MTSU throughout the year.”
Gilbert said that partnership includes professional development for the system’s faculty and staff, special science events, social work interns, student teachers and more.
“I can name any college and there’s a partnership, and it’s the way it should be,” she said. “I think we learn from each other.”
One of the new activities was a halftime performance by members of the City Schools’ Competition Cheerleading Team.
“I’m really excited. It’s a lot of fun being here and showing everybody what my team can do,” said Jorie Miller, 10, a Bradley Academy fifth-grader.
Hobgood Elementary School fourth-grader Xavier Duffey, and his teacher, Kelsey Rone, practiced for a week before competing in a race to stack red plastic cups in the shape of a Christmas tree.
The practice paid off; they took first place in the competition, which was one of many activities offered for the young visitors during the event.
“It was fun and it was interesting — and loud,” Duffey, a member of the Hobgood boys’ basketball team, said of the outing.
Rone, an MTSU alumna and former member of the MTSU Band of Blue and pep band, said the trip to MTSU “is a nice little break for the kids … and it reminds me how much I love my job.”
More than 7,500 students and City Schools employees saw the MTSU women coast to victory, bringing their season to 5-2. Jess Louro led the way with 18 points, while Sophomore Charity Savage added 13 points, eight rebounds and five steals in 26 minutes in her first start.
MTSU plays at No. 4-ranked Louisville at 6 p.m. CST Saturday, Dec. 9.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)