June 17, 2014 - by

Drop Everything and Read (D.E.A.R. Day)

Tuesday, April 14th was Family Reading Night at Hartsfield Elementary.  It was also the day the school celebrated National Drop Everything And Read Day or D.E.A.R. Day as it is commonly called.  Usually celebrated on April 12th, the birthday of beloved author Beverly Clearly, National D.E.A.R. Day is a special reading celebration to remind and encourage families to make reading together on a daily basis a family priority.  Showing our support, Casey Short, Katie Bolinsky, and Tiffany McCarty from Women’s Soccer read the popular children’s book Wolf’s Coming!. 

The Lady Seminoles also talked about the importance of reading and how reading and doing well in school was essential to in order to play sports in college. Although, Women’s Basketball was unable to attend, they donated individual autographed book -marker’s that were raffled off to the children at the end of the evening.  The children were very excited to be at the Family Reading Night. 

It was a fun-filled night with pizza, celebrity readers, dramatizations, poetry, costumes, and a raffle drawing.

Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back – Florida State Student-Athletes Relay For Life

With continued support of the American Cancer Society, Florida State student-athletes have registered two teams this year with Relay for Life, Team Garnet (FSU Athletics 2) and Team Gold (FSU Athletics).  Team Gold will include Football, Men’s & Women’s Swimming and Diving, Volleyball, Softball, Men’s & Women’s Golf, Baseball, and Women’s Basketball.  Team Garnet will include Soccer, Men’s & Women’s Tennis, Cheer, Men’s & Women’s Track and Field, Golden Girls, Men’s Basketball, and Men’s & Women’s Cross Country. Helping to attain this year’s goal are team captains Brianna Barry (Volleyball), Melanie Cabassol (Women’s Diving), Javier Cruz (Cross Country), and Dan Bradford (Men’s Swimming).

Relay for Life, the American Cancer Society’s signature event will be held on April 3rd & 4th at Mike Long Track.  Relay for Life, the American Cancer Society’s signature event will be held on April 3rd & 4th at Mike Long Track.  The official kickoff will begin at 6pm with special performances throughout the evening by FSU Cheer and Golden Girls. There will also be other fun and exciting activities such as `Are you smarter than an Athlete’. Relay for Life is a fun filled overnight experience designed to bring together those who have been touched by cancer.  Each year the Student-Athlete Advisory Council, makes it a point to have at least one person from each sports team take turns walking from start to finish in this 18-hour event.  During Relay, people from within the community gather to celebrate cancer survivors, remember those lost to cancer, and to fight back against the disease. Relay participants help raise money and awareness to support the American Cancer Society in its lifesaving mission to eliminate cancer as a major health issue.  To learn more about Relay For Life, visit www.relayforlife.org/relay.

If you would like to help support Florida State Athletics and either Team Garnet (FSU Athletics 2) or Team Gold (FSU Athletics), visit Relay For Life-FSU Athletics; select Donate, Search for a Team, type in FSU Athletics, then select a team and input the required information to make your donation.

Good Luck On The FCAT

Over the past month, to help show their support, as well as, to encourage and inspire students at local south side elementary and middle schools, student-athletes from all sports created and delivered over 300 FCAT Cards.  Several student-athletes also put together over 1,200 “Whatever it Takes” goody bags for students in grades 3rd-11th who have been preparing to take the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT), which began on March 10th.  Each card, hand written and crafted by student-athlete’s from various sports teams, and each goody bag filled with words of encouragement and motivation, were given to those students or classroom who needed the most improvement on the FCAT. 

The FCAT is a test given to Florida students to measure what they know and are able to accomplish in reading, writing, mathematics, and science. The test is part of Florida’s plan to improve student achievement. It measures challenging content standards, called the Sunshine State Standards.  All public school students in Grades 3 through 11 are required to take the FCAT.  The FCAT is given to students each year in February (Writing) and in March (Reading, Mathematics, and Science).

Dance Marathon

What better way to spend your Valentine’s Day than by volunteering at Dance Marathon! On February 14th &15th, Florida State student-athletes, Tiffany McCarty, Jessica Price, Margo McAuley from women’s soccer; Taylor Wilson and Rachael Morgan from women’s volleyball; Tommy Beltz and Erin Simmons from men’s and women’s track & field; and Shawn Powell, EJ Manuel and Christian Ponder from men’s football signed autographs and visited with the families of Children’s Miracle Network of Shand’s Hospital. During FSU’s Dance Marathon both the children of Miracle Network and the student-athletes enjoyed hula hooping, playing four-square, finger painting, and showing a few moves on the dance floor.

When volunteering for Dance Marathon you’re sure to have an amazing time.  “I’d say that I think I had more fun playing with the kids than they did! Laughing and playing games with them made my Saturday a lot more fun and rewarding too,” stated Tommy Beltz. Everyone had a great time. It was a celebratory occasion with lots of laughs and tired feet.

Dance Marathon is the University’s largest student-run Philanthropy. Every spring, hundreds of FSU students pledge to remain standing for 32 consecutive hours to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network and the FSU College of Medicine’s Pediatric Outreach Program.

The benefit earned $375,000, most of which will go to the Children’s Miracle Network providing vital medical equipment for the neonatal and pediatric intensive care units at Shands Children’s Hospital in Gainesville. The rest is given to FSU’s College of Medicine Pediatric Outreach Program.

 Dance Marathon Photo Gallery

Fitness Festival

On Saturday, January 31st, the Tallahassee Fitness Festival kicked off at 9 a.m. at the Leon County Civic Center with a friendly game of Tug-of-War. For one day, local residents were able to experience the latest exercise classes, home gym equipment, and health and nutrition products. Guests learned about the latest techniques of getting fit, met professionals in the fitness industry, test drove new gym equipment, sampled free health foods, and even participated in aerobic classes.  An interactive Kids Korner also provided activities for the children in attendance, as well as for FSU’s student-athletes who talked to many of the kids about the importance of exercise.     

Student-athletes from the Football, Golf, Track, and Diving teams signed autographs, mingled with the guest and children, and engaged in friendly competition on an over-sized bike track and inflatable boxing ring.  The Women’s Golf team also brought along their golf balls and clubs where kids were allowed to hit the balls in a hole for a prize. “I think that the fitness festival was a great event for both kids and adults. There were different things you could try to eat that were healthy and different classes to take to get into shape. This was a great event for the community and it shows that they care about people’s health. It was a lot fun seeing all the kids out here and the most fun was when they made the putt into the hole,” stated Women’s Golfer Caroline Westrup.

 2009 Fitness Festival Photo Gallery

Special Olympics

FSU student-athletes from a variety of sports came out to Mike Long Track Saturday, January 24th to support the participants of the 4th Annual Special Olympics.  The event kicked off with a quartet singing the national anthem, along with a cheer from a member of the Special Olympic Cheer Squad.  Special Olympic Athletes and members of the local community competed in a 1K run/walk around Mike Long Track, as well as a 5k race around FSU’s campus. 

The student-athlete volunteers helped to keep pace by running beside participants, enthusiastically cheering for the runners, awarding hugs, and giving high fives and prizes to everyone who crossed the finish line!  Triumph was in the air when everyone completed the race.  “It’s really nice to see the joy in others as they crossed the finish line,” said soccer player Tiffany McCarty. 

The Special Olympics was founded on the belief that people with intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities can, with proper instruction and encouragement, learn, enjoy, and benefit from participation in individual and team sports. For more information about the Special Olympics and how you can volunteer please visit their website, www.specialolympics.org.

 2009 Special Olympics Photo Gallery

Holiday Giving

During this Holiday season the Student-Athlete Advisory Council, along with the help of fellow student-athletes and the entire Athletic Department, donated over 800 pounds of canned goods and non-perishable food items. Their efforts helped donate over 15,000 pounds of food to the Second Harvest Food Bank to provide meals for countless families, children and homeless shelters in Tallahassee and the surrounding area.

Also, the Men’s and Women’s Track & Field and Cross Country Teams continued the Holiday giving when they sponsored seven deserving children this Holiday season through the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program. For the fourth year in a row, the Track & Field and Cross Country program partnered with the Salvation Army to provide clothing and toys for less fortunate families. “It was definitely an uplifting experience to have the chance to be a part of the kids holiday cheer. We worked really hard as a team to make their holiday as special as possible. I can’t wait until next year!” said All-American runner Keyla Smith. This Holiday season, student-athletes and staff from both teams were able to collect over $900 to purchase items from the children’s Christmas wish-list.

Members from the Golden Girls also volunteered as Santa’s Helpers at the Children’s Home Society, where they helped collect and select gifts from children’s wish-list. The Children’s Home Society of Florida (CHS) is one of Florida’s oldest private nonprofit organizations providing services to children and families. CHS delivers a unique spectrum of social services designed to protect children at risk of abuse, neglect or abandonment; to strengthen and stabilize families; to help young people break the cycle of abuse and neglect; and to find safe, loving homes for children. Last year, CHS helped to improve the lives of more than 90,000 children and family members.

Christmas Party

Monday, December 15th at Moose Lodge, student-athletes participated at the Bethany Apartments Christmas Party, sponsored by the Capital City Kiwanis Club, to help bring Christmas joy to children of “homeless parents” who have been placed in temporary housing. 

Student-athletes spent time meeting, greeting, and eating with the children before interacting in fun activities such as karaoke and a competitive game of who can make the fastest snowman out of tissue paper. 

“It was great to help out the community especially because I’ve grown up here, the excitement that the kids and even the parents had was very priceless,” stated Shawn Erickson of the Men’s Swim team. 

It was a memorable and heart-felt night as one child cried when receiving her gifts; thankful to receive any gifts at all this holiday season. The night ended with an appearance by Santa Claus with the student-athletes helping distribute presents to each child.

MATP Games

Wednesday, December 3rd, Lacey Agnew-Women’s Golf, Javier Cruz-Men’s Cross Country, Celecia Allen- Golden Girls and Brianna Barry- Volleyball visited Everhart Elementary School to help assist with the MATP Games (Motor Activity Training Program).  The MATP games are structured for students with profound disabilities in athletic events. Some events of the games included jumping, head lifting, grasp and hold, throwing and walking. The students who participated in the games were energetic and extremely excited to compete in the events for they had been working very hard to learn the skill.

After the completion of MATP Games, a Pep Rally was held and Javier, Celecia and Brianna awarded ribbons to the students for their participation in the games. The Pep Rally was full of energy as the cheer Squad performed and the new co-ed basketball was introduced for the upcoming season.


Seminole Book Challenge

The FSU Athletics Department has partnered with Leon County Public Schools, grades K-8, for the 3rd Annual Seminole Book Challenge. The reading challenge will run from September 1st through February 1st and features many new additions for 2008. Students in grades K-8 will be given the goal to read 10 books out of the 25 listed on the “Seminole Book Challenge” reading list posted in each school’s library. Students’ progress will be tracked by the school librarian and/or English/reading teachers. Each school will be assigned a different member of Florida State’s Women’s Basketball team. That player will visit that school throughout the challenge to encourage participation. Each student that reads 10 books will receive two free tickets to “Seminole Book Challenge” Night with the FSU Women’s Basketball team. Students that read all 25 books will be entered into a drawing to become ball kids for the game and will be honored on-court at halftime of the game and the top five classes county-wide with the most books read will receive a free lunch party with members of the women’s basketball team.

On Tuesday, November 25th at the Civic Center over 900 hundred elementary students from across Leon County participated in the “A Day of Class” spent with Seminoles, an educational field trip sponsored by the Women’s Basketball team. In conjunction with the Seminole Book Challenge, the purpose of the field trip was to strengthen the association between local schools and Florida State University and to generate a positive and educational experience for the students. It was a very exciting day as the kids had the opportunity to show their creativity by creating their own posters for the game. There was an outside Fun Kids Zone and each student received an educational activity book focusing on geography, math, health & nutrition and logic before they watched the Lady Seminoles take on Southeast Missouri State.

The Great American Smoke Out

The rain didn’t stop ten student-athletes from attending the Great American Smoke Out on November 13th.   The Great American Smoke Out traditionally takes place on the third Thursday of November, when millions of smokers and non smokers nationwide celebrate the absence of smoking for at least 24 hours.  During this event anti-smoking games were played, pizza was eaten, and music was heard on FSU’s Union Green to raise awareness and promote the absence of smoking.  In addition the fun and games, informational booths were step up to educate individuals about the health risks attached to smoking.  Melanie Cabassol, Keyla Smith, Jay Culpepper, Cameron Knight, and Brooks Koepka, Drew Weatherford, Lauren MacFarlane, Tori Allen and Lauren Cousart, Maurice Harris, and Caz Piurowski all showed their support by participating in this great cause.

 The Great American Smoke Out Photo Gallery 2009

Kids Voting

On Tuesday, November 4th, selected student-athletes participated in the Kids Voting, Leon County campaign as they adopted the Lincoln Neighborhood Center precinct during this year’s highly anticipated and historical presidential election.  As part of adopting the Lincoln Neighborhood Center precinct, student-athletes were responsible for setting up the Kids Voting booth, staffing the booth from 7am-7pm, greeting all students and assisting them with the voting procedures if needed and delivering all ballots to the ballot drop-off location once polls closed at 7pm. Kids from all ages in grades K-12 were allowed to place their vote as their parents did for the president/vice president, State Senate, County Commissioner and Circuit Judges.  They also caste votes on school issues such as healthy and junk fund options for lunch, FCAT examines and online bullying. All students walked away proudly wearing their Kids Voting sticker.

Kids Voting Leon County is a nonprofit, nonpartisan program devoted to educating students in grades K-12 about the voting process and civic responsibility. The program is designed to encourage young people to learn early the importance of exercising their right to vote in hopes that by the time they reach 18 they will automatically become a registered voter and become involved in local, state, and national elections.

Halloween Extravaganza

Friday, October 31st kicked off Florida State Athletics first ever HALLOWEEN EXTRAVAGANZA, hosted by the Office of Student Services and the Student Athlete Advisory Council (S.A.A.C.)! 

Minus the ghost and goblins, and a scary haunted house, Florida State student-athletes and local youth enjoyed a safe night of trick-or-treating, candy, games, and fun! Spiderman, Fred Flintstone, and Barney Rubble, Peter Pan, Pocahontas, and Superman were all in attendance.

Children wrapped student-athletes up like mummies, fished for candy, danced to the monster march, and best of all, filled their bags up with candy.  After the trick-or-treating and games, guests filed into Tully Gym to watch FSU’s Volleyball team beat Wake Forest. 

The Halloween Extravaganza was a great success!

 Halloween Extravaganza Photo Gallery


Myron Rolle Visits Cobb Middle School

Monday, October 27, starting safety of the football team Myron Rolle, spoke to Cobb Middle School students about the importance of academics.

“It’s important to get them now while they’re impressionable and to really stress the importance of academics. Because a lot of times football and other sports are put above academics and it gets lost in the shuffle,” said Myron Rolle.

Students listened intently as Rolle explained that if you work hard now, it will all pay off in the future. He also, reminded the youth that it’s ok to be different, it’s cool to be smart, and that he or any of our great leaders didn’t become  who they are today by being slackers.

Rolle is not only a football star, but has a 3.75 GPA, finished his undergrad degree in just 2 1/2 years, is a grad student in Public Administration, but is also a nominee for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship.

 Myron Rolle Visits Cobb Middle School Photo Gallery


Red Ribbon Week

Wednesday, October 22nd, Florida State student-athletes officially kicked off Red Ribbon Week by participating at Sabal Palm Elementary School’s Red Ribbon Week Pep Rally.  Charles Clark and Brianna Barry asked the 5th graders at Sabal Palm to take the pledge to be drug free and talked to them about the importance of doing well in school.  This year’s Ed Ribbon Week theme, STEP IT UP: A CALL TO ACTION!, encouraged all of us to take the Red Ribbon Campaign to the next level. 

During this weeklong celebration, student-athletes spoke to four elementary schools, one middle school and one high school encouraging students to “Say No to Drugs” and urging them to be “Drug Free.”  In addition to visiting local schools, student-athletes, in conjunction with the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida, were able to deliver Red Ribbon Week materials to schools on the south side of town.  

At each school, students listened as student-athletes told stories of why they choose to be drug free, the importance of saying no and the consequences that one could face if they elected to do drugs, associate with people who do drugs or if they choose to sale and distribute drugs or associate with those who choose to sale and distribute drugs.  To supplement the rigmarole of speeches, some schools also had musical performances and others allowed money to be donated to have the chance to dunk an administrator or coach.

Red Ribbon Week is an alcohol, tobacco and other drug and violence prevention awareness campaign observed annually, every October 23rd-31st.  In 1985, Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena was kidnapped while working undercover in Mexico. After he and his pilot were found murdered, citizens in his hometown of Calexico, California donned red ribbons in his honor. The red ribbon became their symbol for prevention in order to reduce the demand of illegal drugs.

The weeklong campaign provides multiple opportunities for students, parents, teachers and others to join together to address the alcohol, tobacco, other drug and violence related issues or concerns in their community.  Red Ribbon Week owes its success and national recognition to the thousands of parents, teachers, and individuals, schools and grass roots organizations that worked tirelessly at a local level to educate children and prevent drug use.  Today, the annual Red Ribbon Week celebration is the most far-reaching and well-known drug prevention awareness campaign in the United States.

Special thanks goes out to Charles Clark, Brianna Barry, Keyla Smith, Caila Coleman, Melanie Cabassol, Kendall Brown, Erin Simmons, Toddrick Verdell, Auja Pughsley, Valerie Flournoy, Shannon Stuckman and Tyler Peacock for their time and efforts to help with the awareness of illegal drug prevention.

A Thank you also goes out to Bond Elementary, Riley Elementary, Griffin Middle, Lincoln High, Sabal Palm Elementary and Ft. Braden Elementary for their efforts as well.

 Red Ribbon Week Photo Gallery

Student-Athletes Attend The Bobby Bowden Luncheon

Friday, August 22nd kicked off the 57th annul Bobby Bowden Luncheon.   Every Monday following Florida State football games, the Alumni Association hosts the Bobby Bowden Luncheons.  Student-athletes from all sports are invited to meet, greet, and promote Florida State Athletics with members from the local community. 

During the luncheon Coach Bowden reviews highlights from the previous football game and gives lighthearted commentary. Although it’s not always a joyous on Monday to meet and greet fans after a lose of a game, great times are always had from Coach Bowden’s humorous and good spirited conversations.

A special thanks to Maurice Harris, Everette Brown, Dionte Allen, and Everette Dawkins, Jamar Jackson, Keyla Smith, and Hshkeni Richemond who all participated in the Bowden Luncheons.

 Bobby Bowden Luncheon Photo Gallery



Student Appreciation Day – Riley Elementary School

T.G.I.F.-Thank Goodness It’s Friday at Riley Elementary School for 3rd graders in former student-athlete and recent graduate Ashley Kemp’s class.  Every other Friday for the past month, a select few of our student-athletes have visited with Ms. Kemp’s class to help celebrate Student Appreciation Day. 

In order to participate on this day, the 3rd graders have to demonstrate being an outstanding student for the week- completing all assignments, doing well on quizzes and displaying good, respectable behavior.  Week one was a little rocky, as many of the students were not able to join in on the activities.  But each week more and more students would join in for Student Appreciation Day, which is a great testimonial of the impact that Seminole student-athletes have on the youth in the community. 

Thank you to the student-athletes who have participated- Maurice Harris, Keyla Smith, Toddrick Verdell, Javier Cruz, Becky Edwards, Valerie Flournoy, Javier Tunon-Garcia, Hshkeni (Kay Kay) Richemond, Kalimah Salaam, Sara Young, and Shannon Stuckman. The students are great, full of energy and a joy to be around and the student-athletes look forward to returning next Friday, October 17th for a load laughs and barrels of encouragement and motivation.

 Student Appreciation Day Photo Gallery

Able Trust: Youth Leadership Forum

On Friday July 25th Drew Weatherford and Everette Brown made an appearance at the Florida Youth Leadership Forum that was held at FSU in the University Center Club Ballroom. Every year high school students are chosen to attend this motivational and educational training program to learn about leadership, disability history, and career opportunities.

Everette Brown spoke about what it takes to be a role model and leader.  He said that “being a leader takes a lot of hard work and the most important thing in leadership is being able to influence the people around you.  You do that by having good character and working hard at everything you do”. Drew Weatherford agreed with Brown and added “there are a lot of people that influence me in my life that know about leadership, and we are glad to give back and do the same thing”.

Everyone was excited to hear from the student athletes and was even happier to have their pictures taken with them and receive autographed souvenirs.

 Able Trust: Youth Leadership Photo Gallery


Upward Bound – Summer Olympics Program

 July 17th -19th marked the 39th Annual Florida Association of Educational Opportunity Program for Personnel (FAEOPP) Summer Olympics hosted by  Florida State University Center for Academic Retention and Enhancement’s Upward Bound Program. 

Seminole student-athletes volunteered their services at this wonderful event aimed at highlighting the academic and physical talents of some of the most deserving youth, ages 10-17, from 17 different high schools throughout the state of Florida who participate in the Upward Bound Program. 

Keyla Smith (Track & Field), Maurice Harris (Football), Javier Garcia-Tunon (Track & Field), Robin Ahrberg (Softball), Tiffany MacDonlad (Softball) and recent graduate Niakeya Heath (Track & Field) lent a helping hand as referee’s to various sports while promoting camaraderie, generating an atmosphere of excitement and helping establish friendly and wholesome attitudes among the youth. 

A well attended event, having more participants this year then past years, our student athletes had their hands full as umpire’s as these high strung high school’ers came to compete in a serious game of co-ed softball and had no problems arguing with the umps.

 Upward Bound Photo Gallery

Contact Student Services | Phone – 850-644-3281 | Fax – 850-644-7025


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