For seventh grade basketball coach Brandon Schafer, teaching about basketball has expanded to teaching about caring for others. The undefeated (9-0) Mexico Middle School team members signed and wrote notes on Christmas cards for all the residents of the Missouri Veterans' Home. They delivered the cards during Christmas break.
"We signed the cards while watching the varsity Bulldogs practice one day," Schafer said. "Then we delivered the cards to the Veterans' Home, so the students could visit with the residents."
Schafer, who teaches physical education at Eugene Field Elementary School, is a second-year basketball coach. He believes it is important for his athletes to be aware of what is going on in the community.
"I want to teach the boys that they are part of a greater community," Schafer said. "I want them to learn to step up and help when needed."
Schafer is familiar with the Veterans' Home because his grandfather is a resident. "My grandfather is Francis Walker, a resident there," he said. "He always asks about the boys, and about how the team is doing."
Schafer and his team members signed cards for the 129 residents of the home. The cards, however, are just what Schafer hoped would be conversation starters between the boys and the residents. "I want the boys to know that they might have needs when they are older," he said.
Members of the team are Cameron Baumgartner, Quinton Baumgartner, Tyler Brandow, Ty DeBurns, Brian Goodwin, Marcus Higbee, Cameron Holman, Matthew Huffman, Colton Johnson, J'Marquay McGruder, Malik Sheets, Marquis Smith, Deion Wayman, Michael White and Avion Williams.