Islanders Talk Teamwork At Birch Lane

Islanders fans, from left: Connor Fountain, Justin Muscara and Paul Gibson were excited to meet the players

Students at Birch Lane Elementary School learned about teamwork and cooperation from people who know a little something about being part of a team, as three players from the New York Islanders recently paid a visit to the school.

Birch Lane was one of just 10 schools in the region to receive a visit through Islanders School Day. John Tavares, Andrew Ladd and Josh Bailey shared their own experiences as hockey players while talking to students about doing well in school, the importance of teamwork, treating each other with respect, staying active and eating healthy. Blue and orange posters around the room had inspirational phrases such as “Teamwork,” “Leadership” and “Hard Work.”

“When you see the results, it’s very rewarding,” said Tavares on working hard.

The players signed autographs for excited students during Islanders School Day.

“It’s a lot easier to get things done when you’re working together with people with the same goals,” added Ladd about teamwork.

In order to be considered, the school had to submit a letter detailing its character education initiatives. Social worker Denise Glenn, adviser of Students Against Destructive Decisions, spoke of the anti-bullying campaigns at the school, as well as efforts to help people in the community through food and coat drives.

Fourth-grader Owen Manzo was able to ask a question to players on his favorite hockey team.

“It’s encouraging for the students to hear from someone they admire,” said Glenn of the visit. “It ties everything together that the children have been working for to create a team spirit, a community spirit.”

New York Islanders players, from left: John Tavares, Josh Bailey and Andrew Ladd met Birch Lane Elementary School first-graders Ethan Pettruco, Sophia Cicillini and Katelyn Nieves.

Following a question and a nswer session, the players gave autographs, as many students brought in jerseys, hats, pictures, pucks and other items to be signed.

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