The video message inside the MTSU Murphy Center scoreboards read: “MAKE SOME NOISE!”
The video messages were not really needed as nearly 7,000 students from 12 Murfreesboro City Schools and the Homer Pittard Campus School kept the Monte Hale Arena’s noise level at the max during the third Education Day field trip, this time for the Blue Raiders-Clemson Tigers women’s basketball game.
When the youngsters saw the message, noise levels became deafening — apparently pushing the Raiders intensity to peak and affecting the Atlantic Coast Conference Tigers, who committed numerous turnovers and an off-day shooting as MTSU, 3-2, cruised to a 69-28 victory before 11,307 fans, second largest in the program’s history.
Education Day III marks the continuing partnership between MTSU, which operates Campus School, which is part of the Rutherford County school system, and the city’s schools. The alliance exposes students — some for the first time — to a college campus.
Sitting on the very back row of the bleachers on the track level, Bradie McCarty, 11, a sixth-grade student at Bradley Academy, was fully intent on “yelling and screaming and losing my voice.”
So were the rest of McCarty’s peers, who began cheering — and yelling — before 10 a.m., more than one hour before tipoff, and throughout the game.
The event featured a science/mathematics “hula hoop” game, won by Reeves-Rogers Elementary. Overall Creek, Scales, Cason Lane and Campus School also participated.
“To do it (an activity) in science was fun,” said Jaxyn Luscinski, a Reeves-Rogers fourth-grader, who scored one of her team’s two points as players from five teams used a large sling-shot to get the ball to land inside the hula hoop.
“What I learned is that when you push or pull the sling, it makes you get from one place to another.”
“They’re excited,” said Reeves-Rogers Principal Laurie Offutt, whose team — Luscinski, O’mutwali Rulikira, Jaylen Moore, Savanna Syharath and Kenneth Harper — received five small, MTSU blue basketballs as the prize, and her school later won the musical chairs. “One more game and we sweep.”
Students from all five teams received T-shirts from MTeach, which produced the educational event and is a secondary mathematics and science teacher preparation program at MTSU.
MTSU Athletic Marketing’s mascot basketball game was more like mascot mania or mayhem as various school mascots joined MT’s Lightning in a short game during halftime when the Blue Raiders led 46-12.
Teriana Covington, 12, of Black Fox, utilized her quickness to score eight points.
“This was 100 percent fun,” Covington said.
MTSU aerospace assistant professor Nate Callender “walked over to hang out” with his daughter, Elizabeth, 6, a kindergarten student at Campus School, while son Ian, a Campus School fifth-grader, got to hang with his buddies in the rafters.
“It’s a good day,” Elizabeth Callender said. “I’ve been excited about it.” Brother Ian added that he “would have made the sling shot lower to the ground” in order to score more points for the hula hoop game.
Nate Waddell, 9, a John Pittard Elementary School fourth-grader, said the best part for him “was watching the basketball game.”
The Raiders’ Olivia Jones and her teammates kept the crowd loud throughout the game, which was MTSU’s third consecutive Education Day victory.
Cooper Lebo, 10, a Discovery School fourth-grader attending his third straight Education Day game, said he “likes watching the basketball players because they make good, long-range shots. It gets more fun every year.”
Murfreesboro City Schools Director Linda Gilbert sat through an early portion of the game with MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee. Eventually, she ventured to the track level “to walk around and hope everything is going smoothly — and everybody at MTSU makes it go smoothly.”
“This exemplifies what happens all during the year between MTSU and Murfreesboro City Schools,” Gilbert added, referring to the Education Day. “This captures the fun, education and collaboration.”
Erma Siegel, Hobgood Elementary, Mitchell-Neilson and Northfield were the other city schools sending students to the game.
Rutherford County and City Schools combined to bring the students to the game and return them to their schools with about 50 buses.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)