Trojans athletes visit Hafen Elementary to promote character building

In an effort to get the message out that “character does count,” the Pahrump Valley High School athletic department sent 35 athletes out to Hafen Elementary School on Oct. 19.

Jason Odegard, athletic administrator for the school, said they established a program last year called “Trojans of Character” to teach this message.

“In short, it is a program to try to motivate elementary students to excel in both academics and citizenship and to encourage high school students to take on being a role model and make good choices both academically and socially,” Odegard said. “The athletes spoke to the young Hafen students about the Trojans of Character program, the different sports the high school has to offer and the importance of maintaining good grades while participating in sports.”

While at the school, the young athletes addressed some 450 students and staff.

The program not only teaches younger kids about character, but the athletes themselves learn about what character is all about.

Each athlete and their parents sign a contract and agree “to be a high-quality representative” of the athletic program, the school and the community. The program states that the athletes “must demonstrate high standards of sportsmanship in all aspects of athletics, exemplify the six pillars of character.”

The athlete agrees not to participate in, encourage, promote or condone any activities that are illegal, unethical or potentially harmful, including the use of illegal tobacco, alcohol or drugs.

One of the ways the program reaches the younger kids is through trading cards just like the baseball cards one sees in the stores. A trading card is made of each athlete that goes through the program and they are then collected by the junior and elementary school students.

The cards are used as rewards for students. Students that collect the most cards will be invited to attend a designated athletic event as the guests of the athletes and the program. In addition, top collectors may be invited to sit on the bench during the game or to serve as bat boys or girls.

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