Middle School ‘Fun Day’ Draws Nationally Ranked College Basketball Team

Members of the Caldwell University women’s basketball team speak to Franklin Middle School students Jan. 20 during the school’s “Fun Day.”

It’s not every day that Franklin Middle School students get a visit by a nationally ranked women’s basketball team.

But that’s what happened Jan. 20, when the Caldwell University Cougars stopped by to participate in the school’s “Fun Day.”

This was the third “Fun Day” run by the school this year, said Corey Cohen, a 7th Grade math teacher. The days are part of the school’s Positive Behavior Support In Schools Program, a district-wide initiative that encourages children to exhibit positive behavior.

At the middle school, students who are seen adhering to one of the school’s four expectations – to have pride, be respectful, be responsible and be safe – are rewarded with “Knight tokens.” The tokens are used for a variety of purposes, including swapping for items in the school store and entering smaller raffles during the school year.

Students who earned enough tokens to participate in this “Fun Day” were treated to “Escape Rooms,” a psychic and a discussion with the basketball players.

In the escape rooms, students completed puzzles and an obstacle course before they were able to get out.

Cohen is a friend of the Cougars’ head coach, Kristina Danella, and asked her if her team would participate. Danella said she was happy to oblige.

“We’re on winter break right now so we have some free time,” she said. “The kids get to do something different than just basketball. They get to interact with kids, they get to do a fun activity in the escape room, I thought that was pretty cool.”

Danella said the day was a learning experience for the players and the middle school students.

“I know the students here at Franklin Middle School learned a lot, but I also know we learned a lot,” she said. “We are positive role models for them, and I don’t know if our kids necessarily see it all the time, but today they did because these kids look up to them. It’s just really nice to see them interacting together and working together.”

Danella said the main thing she hoped the FMS students went away with was the idea that they should “work hard and get involved now. The time to start is now, whether its sports, or music or the arts, just get involved now.”

“It takes hard work regardless of whatever it is, even if you’re into your academics, it’s hard work,” she said.

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