Fifth and sixth graders got a chance to visit campus, meet student-athletes, and watch a women’s basketball game
By: Kelly Huth
The stands at Kirby Sports Center erupted in cheers as Abby Antognoli ’25 sunk her first basket during the Jan. 10 women’s basketball game against Colgate. Twelve hundred fifth and sixth graders from Easton Area School District (EASD) were in the stands and on their feet, cheering on the team during the annual School Day Game.
For four years Lafayette Athletics—in partnership with the Landis Center for Community Engagement and Wells Fargo—has welcomed students to visit campus, meet student-athletes, and watch a game at Kirby Sports Center.
“The School Day Game is one of my favorite events of the year,” said Sherryta Freeman, director of athletics. “The energy brought by the Easton fifth and sixth graders is unmatched, and I am so grateful for the partnership with Easton Area School District, Wells Fargo, and the Landis Center to allow this program to come to life, now for the fourth time. I know our student-athletes relish the opportunity to bring joy to the community, and I am incredibly thankful for all of their efforts.”
Head Coach Kia Damon-Olson called the School Day Game one of the highlights of the season.
“The atmosphere in Kirby Sports Center is electric, and the players love competing in this environment,” said Damon-Olson. “It’s also a day where students get to interact with players and coaches from multiple sports teams and be recognized for their hard work and accomplishments. We are very fortunate to partner with Wells Fargo to bring this opportunity to the students in the Easton School District.”
As students arrived at Kirby Sports Center they were greeted by members of the men’s lacrosse team, who led them through relays and activities, and got them excited for the game.
“I’m looking forward to the basketball game because I’ve never seen a real one before. This is new and exciting,” said Grace Low, a fifth grader at Shawnee Elementary School.
Yasmeen Ghileb, a fifth grader at Forks Elementary School, was all smiles as she described the relay races and games she got to play in Kirby Sports Center before tip-off. “I’m super excited to visit Lafayette.”
Before the game, five Easton students were celebrated with PARDS awards for being passionate, accountable, resilient, driven, and selfless, and walked alongside the starting lineup onto the court. Throughout the game, members of Lafayette Athletics teams and staff threw T-shirts into the crowd, called students up for free throw contests, had students play musical chairs with the mascot, and even challenged the teachers to a game of red light, green light.
Wells Fargo, which sponsors the event, provided a book and drawstring bag to every child in attendance. District Manager Paul Story said Wells Fargo also extends the partnership by teaching Hands on Banking, a financial literacy class for older students, at EASD and offering financial literacy workshops for Lafayette students.
“What I enjoy about this event is it may be the first time they’ve visited a college campus or been part of a college basketball game,” Story said of the students.
For fifth grader Ava Nace, from Edward Tracy Elementary School, it was her first visit to Lafayette’s campus and her first college basketball game.
“I’m excited to watch the game. It’s going to be a lot of fun,” she added.
Tracy Piazza, EASD Superintendent, said Lafayette has been a great partner over the years and that events like the School Day Game are so worthwhile for the students.
“Anytime we can get our students on a college campus and show them the possibility of what comes next is so beneficial,” Piazza said.
Riley Sullivan ’25, a member of the men’s lacrosse team, volunteered at last year’s School Day Game and returned because it was an awesome experience both for the players and the kids.
“I’d like to think if I was in their shoes that this is a pretty cool field trip,” Sullivan said. “I hope they go tell their parents and friends at home.”