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May 25, 2013

DURHAM, N.C. – While in Durham for the ACC Baseball Championship, student-athletes from participating teams made time for local children in ACC Community Connections outreach activities.

Eleven players from Clemson, Miami, North Carolina and NC State took part in outreach events on Wednesday and Thursday at Pearson Elementary School. They met students and stressed the importance of exercise and maintaining good study habits to their young audience.

On Friday, four Florida State players participated in an on-site contest “Are you smarter than a fifth-grader?” with students from Little River Elementary. Over 125 students from the school attended the morning contest featuring Miami and NC State.

“I think it is really important to talk to the kids,” Miami senior pitcher Vince Kossak said. “We were all once in their shoes. It’s good for them to have someone to look up to. They see us on TV or see us at the stadium, and it makes them feel good. They say, ‘Hey, these guys really care about us.’ It encourages them, as they look to the future, to stay healthy. It makes them feel that we are a part of them, and they are part of us.”

The ACC Community Connections Program, now in its third full year, takes place at all of the conference's Olympic sport championships. The program aims to provide local elementary students the chance to talk with ACC student-athletes and to learn about their sports. The ACC also makes a book donation to the library of each participating school.

“It’s been a fun day at Pearson Elementary School,” Clemson pitcher Jonathan Meyer said Thursday. “We want these kids to learn about the sport, but really to learn more than just the sport of baseball. We want them to know what they can do positive academically to prolong their sports careers, both in high school and in college.”

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