Pittsylvania County Schools, Danville Otterbots team up to combine sports with education

Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 4:56 PM EDT
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PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - Pittsylvania County Schools is partnering with a local baseball team in an effort to promote sports education and get kids back into the swing of things.

The Danville Otterbots are hoping to deter summer learning loss while also keeping kids active.

Starting this spring, all elementary and middle school students can participate in the BOTS Read Around the Bases program. The program encourages students to read for 360 minutes to win prizes and be recognized in a pre-game parade.

“We’re not assigning books,” said Austin Scher, Otterbots General Manager. “If you love space, read NASA books. If you love baseball, read baseball books. If you love art and design, read architecture books. It’s designed to be fun, but it is specifically designed to stimulate that piece of the brain over summer vacation to try to help stop summer slide for our students.”

The Otterbots will also provide all elementary PE teachers with the equipment needed for a Fun At Bat program including bats, helmets, and the curriculum to teach students the baseball basics.

“This is for future baseball and softball stars. It teaches how to hold a bat, how to step into a throw, how to run the bases, what the rules and duties of each position on the field are. A Tunstall High School graduate was an MLB all star last year. That’s remarkable. He is a fantastic example of what happens when you work hard and do things the right way,” added Scher.

For the high school students, they will provide summer employment opportunities and internships for ages 14 and up.

They will attend all career fairs and reach out to students through social media to encourage them to join the summer internship program for sports marketing.

“Through this program and through our hiring processes the goal is to focus on academics and getting kids back outside, getting kids back engaged in team sports, where you build that camaraderie and you build a goodwill between your teammates and your opponents,” said Scher.

“We think that this will be a perfect fit for them to promote literacy and also for gainful employment,” said Cedric Hairston, Supervisor for Title I/Instructional Programs for Pittsylvania County Schools. “That is all a part of what we try to develop with Pittsylvania County Schools in making sure that our students are successful in life.”

Students can apply for the summer internship program online.