The springy, thudding pop of tennis balls being hit echoed through the Klondike Elementary School gym along with the sounds of excitement and laughter from students. This tennis clinic was the first time many third, fourth and fifth grade students had picked up a tennis racket. And, the session was even more special because the instructors were members of the Purdue University Men’s Tennis Team.
Klondike Elementary School Student Support Specialist James Minogue says the event came together as one way to improve recess and capitalize on the school’s partnership with Purdue University.
“The athletes provide such an important example of what hard work and dedication can lead to and the Purdue athletics department has always been willing to come and work with our students at Klondike,” says Minogue. “I also believe that exposing young students to the possibility of higher education is a good idea to broaden their options and help them see how obtainable they are.”
Purdue Men’s Tennis Head Coach Pawel Gajdzik says seeing the smiles on the students’ faces is priceless. “Our team enjoys getting out into the community to share their love of tennis,” says Gajdzik. “Working with youth, allows our student-athletes to introduce children, some for the very first time, to the sport as well as model ways to keep a healthy and active lifestyle and communicate the importance of academics. Our work also allows us to build connections and new fans. Our matches are held at Schwartz Tennis Center in a family-friendly environment and are always free to attend. We look forward to seeing our fans new and old cheer us on this spring!”
The students enjoyed the tennis clinic so much they hope to hold another one later this semester.