Eighth graders at the E.B. Kennelly School in Hartford were greeted by some special guests when they returned to school for the first time in months to clean out their lockers.
“They’re hurting,” said E.B. Kennelly athletic director Tim Cheever. “A lot of them rely on us for the relationships and all of the sudden in mid-March the world got turned upside down based on not having us to lean on a little bit so it’s been very different for a lot of them.”
To brighten up the students’ day after a challenging school year, members of UConn’s men’s basketball team came to congratulate the eighth graders on their accomplishments.
“It’s just great to come out here and show love to the community with them not being able to be in school,” said UConn guard James Bouknight.
“We’re just trying to give them hope right now,” added UConn men’s basketball Director of Player Development Taliek Brown. “We know times are brutal right now and we’re just trying to play a positive influence in their lives.”
Students interacted with their role models as they picked up their belongings.
“A lot of the kids really enjoy the UConn athletics,” said Cheever. “We were able to get them to a couple games this year through the Husky ticket project.”
The visit to the school was just as rewarding for the players as it was for the students.
“Any time you’re able to come out into the community and just help people feel better in a time like this, you know the pandemic and everything, it’s just very good to come out here and feel like you’re making an impact on people’s time.”
“With all the negative stuff that has been going on in the press and in our communities, our families and their children needed some positive in their lives,” said Cheever.