|The Vols' Jon Higgins gives some pointers to some of the more than 400 local youngsters that attended the annual April Play Day at Thompson-Boling Arena.|
"April Play Day" was designed to introduce children from local Boys and Girls Clubs to campus life and to let them know that college is attainable. Through the testimonies of student volunteers and student-athletes, the children learned that, if they practice and work diligently at what they love the most, be it art, poetry, dance, and/or sports, then college will be an easy step in helping them make their dreams come true. There were campus tours, videos on student life at UT and a special visit from Vol mascot Smokey.
One such testimony came from Vol basketball player Ron Slay who urged the youngsters not to let anybody deny their dreams. New basketball coach Buzz Peterson was there and received considerable attention during an impromptu contest at one end of the floor. As one observer noted, it was "organized confusion," but it was also seemed fun for everyone. .
"Our focus for 'April Play Day' was to impact kids and leave a lasting impression in their minds that college is attainable. With hard work and dedication they too can have the experience of college," said UTAD's Chris Morland, coordinator of the project. "'April Play Day' furthered the purpose of the university in weaving college students into all aspects of the community.".
Members of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee from the men's program include Chris Burke (baseball), Jon Higgins (basketball), Andy Brimer (golf), John Finlayson and Andre James (football), Michael Gross (vice-president, swimming), Andy Crews (tennis), and Tim Bell and Eric Bell (track). .
From the women's side, members include Kara Lawson (basketball), Christy Baird (cross-country), Young-A Yang (golf), Tori Beeler (soccer), Adrianna Wilson and Stephanie Humphrey (softball), Missy Bell (swimming), Alison Ojeda (tennis), Diane Slinden (track), Grace Harrington (rowing, president), and Ariana Wilson (volleyball). .