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Varsity football players tackle a new challenge: Lining up with a class of preschoolers
By Ethan Holly

October 8, 2005

Varsity football player Mitchel Hunt is 6 foot 3 and weighs 260 pounds. Aztyke Jacob Anderson is five years old and likes to play checkers with his dad.

Despite some obvious differences, the two share at least one thing in common: both are pretty good tacklers.

Jacob and his newfound friend met at a recent session of the Aztykes, a child development class at Corona del Sol High School for toddlers three and over. Members of the varsity football team occasionally drop by to help out.

“This week our theme was sports week, and the kids love having the football players come in,” said senior Lizzie Garbosky, an Aztykes student teacher.

Lizzie’s role is unique in that, in her days as a preschooler, she was an Aztyke herself.

“I think it’s really neat that (former students) are teaching the class, Lizzie’s mom and class supervisor Judy Garbosky said.

Lizzie agrees, adding that her involvement as a staff member has been a somewhat unique experience.

“It feels kind of weird to have been one of them, and now be the one teaching them,” Lizzie said.

As to the football players, getting a chance to interact with the kids was almost as much fun for them as it was for the preschoolers.

“We went outside and played some football, Hunt said. “Some of them are pretty good tacklers.

“The best part was just seeing them have fun.”

After singing songs for the football players, the Aztykes made picture frames. Each child had his picture taken with a player. Some even tried on a regulation-size helmet.

“I think the kids learn a lot about football and sports during this week,” Lizzie Garbosky said.  “We spent a lot of time on projects involving football.”

Although the players spend only a few hours with the Aztykes, members of the child development class are in charge for the entire school year.  They develop and then implement projects to not only entertain the children but to help them learn and mature.

“I like the food and arts we have here,” Jacob said. “At school I draw pictures with my friends and play games …”

Having an opportunity to interact with varsity athletes was an important event for the Aztykes.

“The kids really look up to them,” Judy Garbosky said. “To them (the football players) are like heroes.”

Although a lot of the kids’ time involves crafts and games, the students who run the class must put in a lot of hard work to make it happen.

“The members of the advanced child development class do all the lesson planning,” Judy Garbosky said.  “When they come into the lab, they are graded on how well they are prepared, their enthusiasm, and how well they clean up.”

Although the students must put a lot of planning into working with the Aztykes, the results are well worth the efforts.

“What I like about working with the Aztykes is the kids: They’re always so happy,” Judy Garbosky said.

“If you’re having a bad day you can come in there and be happy when you leave. Even (Corona Principal) Mr. Denton has been known to come in there.”



Photo by David Stone


































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