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11K-plus Education Day crowd fuels Lady Raiders’ victory [+VIDEO]

 

A math- and science-related paper airplane activity — one schoolchildren have been working on in the classroom — became the educational aspect featured during the fourth Education Day MTSU women’s basketball game Thursday (Dec. 17).

In what became the second most-attended game in MTSU history, the “Aviation Challenge” became a competition between a number of Murfreesboro City Schools and Homer Pittard Campus School before the Lady Raiders beat Missouri State 70-54.

The crowd of 11,411, including more than 7,300 students from 12 city schools and Rutherford County Schools’ Campus School and more than 500 teachers, staff and administrators, kept it loud throughout the nonconference game.

For the fourth time since 2012, the 13 schools brought good luck to the Lady Raiders on the eve of their final day of classes before the Christmas and New Year’s holiday break.

Murfreesboro City Schools and Campus School student throw their paper airplanes during the “Aviation Challenge,” a pregame activity before the Lady Raiders defeated Missouri State 70-54 in front of a near-record crowd of 11,411 fans. (MTSU photos by Andy Heidt)

Murfreesboro City Schools and Campus School student throw their paper airplanes during the “Aviation Challenge,” a pregame activity before the Lady Raiders defeated Missouri State 70-54 in front of a near-record crowd of 11,411 fans. (MTSU photos by Andy Heidt)

“It was awesome. I was happy and nervous at the same time,” said Giannah Bass, 11, a Mitchell-Nielson sixth-grader who participated in the airplane challenge. “(In class), we had so many planes to see which one would fly better.”

Classmate Keegan Thornton, 12, said it was “fun to make the plane and also fun to throw the plane. I was nervous, but at least we placed.”

Mitchell-Neilson placed second to Overall Creek in the contest.

Twelve Campus School students enjoyed doing the pregame high-five with the Lady Raiders.

Fifth-grader Makena Sanders, 10, said all the classes from Campus School, a K-5 school operated by MTSU, walked to the game.

“I’ve had a lot of fun,” she said. “It was a little chilly, but it felt good.”

Campus School classmate Sophie Wells, 11, part of a Wells family of triplets (along with sister Mallie and brother Carter), said the event “is a big deal.”

“I’ve had a lot of fun,” she said, then mentioning cheering and dancing — and we watched a lot of videos of how to make the plane.”

City schools Director Linda Gilbert, who has earned three MTSU degrees, termed it a “total day of collaboration” by all parties, including MTSU and city police departments, bus drivers, MTSU Parking Services and others.

“This is really about bringing the community together,” Gilbert added. “It’s a terrific opportunity for our children to see where they can be. Teachers have been using information about MTSU and basketball in classrooms before today. It’s a great learning experience.”

MTSU associate athletic director Diane Turnham calls Education Day “a special time for us every year.”

“It’s a day to bring a lot of students to our campus who otherwise might not get to come here,” she said. “And it’s great for our student-athletes to show them how to give back to the community.

“I truly believe we have great role models,” added Turnham, referring to the MTSU athletes. “They are someone even my children would look up to. We tell them people are always watching them now as they become adults. When they hear us talk about it, hopefully it’ll help them be ready for the real world.”

Other city schools attending the game included Black Fox, Bradley Academy, Cason Lane, Discovery School, Erma Siegel, Hobgood Elementary, John Pittard, Northfield, Reeves Rogers and Scales.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)

A near-capacity crowd of 11,411 fans filled Murphy Center Thursday (Dec. 17). The Lady Raiders beat Missouri State 70-54.

A near-capacity crowd of 11,411 fans filled Murphy Center Thursday (Dec. 17). The Lady Raiders beat Missouri State 70-54.

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