J. C. Tilton
The Dixie football team in conjunction with the Dixie Elementary are learning to become Dragon Slayers both on and off the field. Coach Genslinger mentioned the program to me in passing during one of our interviews and I wanted to learn more about it. So I contacted Principal Witkins who also has a hand in this program before doing this story.
Coach Genslinger had approached the elementary about a tutoring program earlier this fall. He wanted his players to become examples for the community. Plus by mentoring the youngsters there was hope that when they got to high school that being a football player was something that they wanted to be. Not only because of their desire to participate in the sport but also because of their desire to help the community and be a model for others to follow. It was a win-win situation. The student athletes would help tutor the youth, this would give them the spirit of giving, while the youngsters would benefit from their knowledge and improve their grades.
Principal Witkins was enthusiastic with the proposal and decided to put together a program to weave it all together. In his words, “The idea of "Dragonslayer" comes from the thought that all kids have a ‘Dragon' in their lives with academics, whether it is math, science, Language Arts, etc. So I came up with the idea of the ‘Story of the Dragonslayer' and made it personal to Dixie. The kids and the team seem to enjoy the idea and have run with it.” The football team and about 30 students meet every Friday afternoon in the school cafeteria. They divide up to review work and solve problems. So far both groups are having fun with the program. It has been successful to date and now the cheerleaders are wanting to help as well.
In these days of steroids in baseball, off court antics in professional basketball and now NFL football Viking scandal, it is refreshing to see athletes being models for their community. By helping these youngsters slay their personal Dragons they are making their school stronger. And with a win this past Friday the team has slayed another Dragon of their own and come a step closer to something that Dixie has not experienced in a long time - a .500 season. Maybe being a role model off the field gives these athletes the impetus to win on the field. If not for themselves, then for the youngsters that look up to them. Hats off to a team that is being successful both on and off the field. Comments: email: Chris Tilton