The KO varsity football team recently put themselves in the shoes of others and helped to lift up the community by volunteering to organize a school supply drive for the Community First School which included delivering the supplies as a team.
The Community First School in Hartford serves students from kindergarten through fourth grade and opened during the thick of the pandemic in August 2020. Despite that, the school has been a bright light for the Hartford community. According to the school’s website, “Last school year 80% of our children tested at or above grade level in reading and math, and 100% of parents reported feeling satisfied with school culture and climate.”
On Wednesday, Sept. 27, the football team visited the school in Hartford to drop off the collected school supplies and to spend some quality time with the students. The students at the school and the KO football athletes bonded by playing on the school playground together.
Head Coach Brandon Batory shared what it was like to see his team and the students together. “You’re there for an hour or so, but you can make a tremendous impact with these kids,” he said. “And when you go multiple times and they see you over and over, the Head of the School tells me they’re always so excited.”
This is the second year the team has worked with the school, starting last year during Coach Batory’s first year as head coach. The team initially started working with them after Coach Batory heard about the school from Director of College Counseling Jami Silver. After hearing about the school, he took the idea of the team volunteering to benefit the school and ran with it.
Coach Batory shared how the experience allowed the team to reflect and truly appreciate all that they have. “It’s that ability to take a step back and realize how lucky we are,” he said. “I think it can refocus the team and it can make a difference in the way you think about everything that you maybe sometimes take for granted, like the beautiful campus, the great teachers, the great facilities, the great food, this and that, that maybe not everyone has in this world.”
Volunteering with the Community First School also had uplifting impacts on members of the team. Sophomore quarterback Jordan Cipriano highlighted the rewarding experience. “We all have the opportunity to go to a great school like KO,” he shared. “Just seeing them smile and have a good time with us is always really rewarding.”
The team participates in community events throughout the year, last year doing multiple visits to the school. In the next few weeks, they’ll be continuing their work with the Community First School by organizing a food supply drive.
The football team has been putting into practice one of KO’s core values, care beyond self, and through this, they have grown personally and made a positive impact on the local community.