Nov. 22, 2011
The T.I.G.E.R! Talk program is one of several community service programs in which almost all student-athletes at Clemson University participate. The T.I.G.E.R! Talk mentoring program is 18 weeks long and pairs a student-athlete at Clemson with a sixth, seventh or eighth grade student at a middle school in South Carolina. The middle schools that participate in this mentoring program come from all over the state.
Each week the students and student-athletes respond to writing prompts that teach one of the character traits within the program: Teamwork, Integrity, Gratitude, Education and Respect. The student-athletes and their buddies spend three weeks on each letter. The goal is for the student-athletes to give their buddies examples of how they use the character traits in their sports and lives, and to encourage the students to practice using the five traits.
There are four middle schools participating in the T.I.G.E.R! Talk mentoring program this year: Lakeside Middle School in Anderson, Northwest Middle School in Greenville, Berea Middle School in Greenville and Ewing Middle School in Gaffney. Each school has a student-athlete administrator that makes sure that the student-athletes respond to their buddies each week. These administrators make sure that the program runs smoothly and serve as a liaison between the student-athletes and the schools. The administrator for Lakeside Middle School is Deanna Piper. This school has been with the program for three consecutive years now! Kerry McLaughlin is the administrator for Berea Middle School, which is new to the program this year with fourteen students participating.
The third school, Ewing Middle School, is participating in this program for the second year. The administrator for this school is Kristen Redmond. This school has a very large group of students signed up and Kristen has been doing a great job with this responsibility. The final school, Northwest Middle School, is also new to the program. Garrison Stevens is the administrator for this school. In total, there are 75 sixth, seventh and eighth grade students participating in the program and 75 student-athlete buddies.
The program started on October 31 this year. Because the program is 18 weeks long, it will conclude during the 2012 spring semester right before the Clemson Spring Football game. Once the students complete the program they will be invited to come and meet their student-athlete buddies at Clemson while also being able to enjoy the Be a T.I.G.E.R! Field Day and watch the Spring Football game. This day is very eventful and exciting for the students, especially when they are able to meet their athlete buddies in person.
“We are looking forward to having even more students participate in the program in the future,” says Kelly Fowler, the Director of T.I.G.E.R! Talk. “We hope to find more interested schools next year so that we can continue to help more young students understand what it really means to `Be a T.I.G.E.R.’ “
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