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Spirited city schools students remain MTSU Lady Ra...

Spirited city schools students remain MTSU Lady Raiders’ Education Day good-luck charm

Not that they need it, but the Middle Tennessee Lady Raiders have a good-luck charm in the form of Murfreesboro City Schools’ youngsters.

When the school kids show up — and some 3,500 did Thursday, Dec. 1, for the annual Education Day game — coach Rick Insell’s Lady Raiders usually win. Visiting Tennessee Tech found out the hard way, losing 83-45 in noisy Murphy Center.

Bradley Academy students give Middle Tennessee State University Lady Raiders’ players high fives as they enter the court before the start of the MTSU-Tennessee Tech women’s college basketball game Thursday, Dec. 1, in Murphy Center.  MTSU won the nonconference game, 83-45. (MTSU photo by Cat Curtis Murphy)
Bradley Academy students give Middle Tennessee State University Lady Raiders’ players high fives as they enter the court before the start of the MTSU-Tennessee Tech women’s basketball game Thursday, Dec. 1, in Murphy Center. MTSU won the nonconference game, 83-45. (MTSU photo by Cat Curtis Murphy)

Education Day games are a way for MTSU, the Lady Raiders and Blue Raiders to partner with the city schools system and Rutherford County Schools, bringing the youngsters to campus for a college game and a taste of university life.

The Lady Raiders, who had five players score in double figures, are 8-1 in Education Day games.

Bradley Academy students wrap toilet paper around sixth-grade teacher Savannah Sugg during the “Mummify Me” activity that was part of the Education Day college basketball game between the Middle Tennessee State University Lady Raiders and visiting Tennessee Tech Thursday, Dec. 1, in Murphy Center. MT Athletic Marketing and Murfreesboro City Schools staff and faculty collaborated on a number of fun activities for the 3,500 students in attendance. (MTSU photo by Cat Curtis Murphy)
Bradley Academy students wrap toilet paper around sixth-grade teacher Savannah Sugg during the “Mummify Me” activity that was part of the Education Day college basketball game between the MTSU Lady Raiders and visiting Tennessee Tech Thursday, Dec. 1, in Murphy Center. MT Athletic Marketing and Murfreesboro City Schools staff and faculty collaborated on a number of fun activities for the 3,500 students in attendance. (MTSU photo by Cat Curtis Murphy)

Loads of activities

From the High-Five Tunnel, where students high-fived the Lady Raiders to the 3-Shot Challenge, where the first to make a layup, free throw and 3-pointer wins, the MT Athletic Marketing and MCS staffs created lots of activities for the fourth- through sixth-grade students.

They turned teachers into mummies with toilet paper, and the halftime “mascot madness” game was a hoot. There were winners in the ball-on-spoon and cotton catch activities.

The popular “Chicken Dance Song,” “Macarena” and “Let It Go” had them on their feet and cheering on the Lady Raiders.

Murfreesboro City Schools’ student captains stand on the court during pregame introductions with the Middle Tennessee State University Lady Raiders basketball players Thursday, Dec. 1, in Murphy Center. MT Athletics and MTSU celebrated Education Day. An announced crowd of 3,500 people included youngsters from the 13 Murfreesboro City Schools. (MTSU photo by Cat Curtis Murphy)
Murfreesboro City Schools’ student captains stand on the court during pregame introductions with the MTSU Lady Raiders basketball players Thursday, Dec. 1, in Murphy Center during Education Day, a partnership between MTSU and MT Athletics. An announced crowd of 3,500 people included youngsters from the 13 Murfreesboro schools. (MTSU photo by Cat Curtis Murphy)
Indyah Ceasar, Hobgood Elementary School, sixth grade student
Indyah Ceasar

Wearing an astronaut suit, Indyah Ceasar, 11, a sixth grader at Hobgood Elementary, a Tennessee STEAM-designated school, said she enjoyed competing with the other 12 mascots in the madcap halftime game. STEAM education focuses on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

“It was very hot in the suit, which was kind of falling off, but I was able to get a point,” said Ceasar, who admitted to having college basketball, WNBA or business entrepreneur aspirations someday.

Had she not been at the game, Ceasar, who is “on the verge of the A/B honor roll,” said she “probably would have been doing social studies or Greek, Roman, ancient times” at school.

Dr. Trey Duke, Murfreesboro City Schools director
Dr. Trey Duke

City Schools Director Trey Duke said they “just appreciate our partnership with MTSU.”

“Dr. (Sidney A.McPhee and interim Dean (RickVanosdall with the College of Education are always working with us, and we’re always looking for new and great ways to partner with the university. We feel really blessed to have them as a neighbor of ours in the community.

“What’s probably most important for us is to make sure all of our students have an opportunity in elementary school to put their feet on a college campus and get a little bit of college experience so they can say, ‘I want to do that when I graduate. That’s where I want to go,’” the director added.

Duke, former principal at Salem Elementary, earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from MTSU in 2003, 2008 and 2021, respectively.

The crowd of students from Cason Lane Academy cheers and waves during a fan-cam segment of the Education Day college basketball game Thursday, Dec. 1, between the Middle Tennessee State University Lady Raiders and visiting Tennessee Tech. In the partnership with MTSU and MT Athletics, Murfreesboro City Schools has brought thousands of students to Lady Raiders basketball games for the past nine years. (MTSU photo by Cat Curtis Murphy)
Students from Cason Lane Academy cheer and wave during a fan-cam segment of the Education Day college basketball game Thursday, Dec. 1, between the MTSU Lady Raiders and visiting Tennessee Tech. In the partnership with MTSU and MT Athletics, Murfreesboro City Schools have brought thousands of students to Lady Raiders basketball games for the past nine years. (MTSU photo by Cat Curtis Murphy)

Another game opportunity

Students attending both the women’s and men’s games received a voucher to attend a future home game free with the purchase of an accompanying adult ticket. 

Their options include the Blue Raiders’ game against Conference USA rival Western Kentucky at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31, and the Lady Raiders’ 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 5, Lady Raiders game against CUSA opponent University of Texas-San Antonio.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)

Lightning, the Middle Tennessee State University mascot, spends time helping the Overall Creek Elementary School students become fired up during the Education Day women’s college basketball game between the MT Lady Raiders and Tennessee Tech. Overall Creek was one of 13 Murfreesboro City Schools bringing students to the game. Students also were given a voucher to attend another game free if accompanied by a paying adult. (MTSU photo by Cat Curtis Murphy)
Lightning, the MTSU mascot, helping Overall Creek Elementary School students get fired up during the Education Day women’s college basketball game between the Lady Raiders and Tennessee Tech. Overall Creek was one of 13 Murfreesboro city schools bringing students to the game. Students also received a voucher to attend another game free if they’re accompanied by a paying adult. (MTSU photo by Cat Curtis Murphy)

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