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Livingstone College keeps elementary students moving with $1,000 donation

By Carl Blankenship
carl.blankenship@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Students at Overton Elementary on Thursday were spaced out in front of the school, maintaining social distance the only way they could, for an assembly to recognize a donation from which they’ll directly benefit.

The donation, $1,000 worth of sporting goods, came directly from Academy Sports to Overton via a partnership with Livingstone College. To help with the celebration, Livingstone brought some of its student athletes to meet the students while Overton Principal Marae Reid and school counselor Rosemary Wood spoke to the students about the donation.

The Livingstone students made a victory lap of sorts around the ring of students to hype them up.

Academy Sports works with Livingstone via its partnership with the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association and decided to work with the college on a holiday season giveaway. Livingstone identified Overton to receive equipment such as soccer balls, goals, bean bag toss games, foam bats and other fun activities for kids.

“For the holiday season, we really try to find local groups and communities that just could use some assistance, especially in a year like 2020,” said Liza Barrett, Academy Sports senior regional marketing specialist.

Reid said the school’s sports equipment was adequate, but the donation will enhance Overton’s offerings. The school is also trying to get students outside as much as possible during the pandemic.

“I especially like that it highlights our partnership with Livingstone,” Reid said.

Barrett said when the company got in touch with Livingstone it asked the college to identify a local organization it has partnered with before that could benefit from the donation. The college already has a relationship with Overton through the school’s Jump Rope Club.

“For us, Overton was the perfect option,” said Livingstone Associate Athletic Director Jaime Kent said. “To give back, and also to reach back out.”

The club involves Livingstone students, many of whom are student athletes, coming out and, as the name suggests, playing jump rope with the kids. Wood, the club’s sponsor, said it helps students develop physical skills, and it also comes with social benefits such as learning conversation skills and giving Overton students good role models.

“Sometimes I think the Livingstone scholars are having just as much fun if not more than us.” Reid said.

Students also learn about team building, get to learn about the Livingstone students and in year’s past the club has been in parades.

“We also have had opportunities to go to Livingstone,” Wood said. “They hosted us at one of their basketball games and treated us like royalty.”

Students in the club who perform best both as classroom role models and in terms of physical development get the “Rocket Jumper” title.

Wood said the club has not been able to meet this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but there’s hope to reconvene at some point this year.

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