11/26/13 Tar Heels give students life-long lessons

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Fourth grader Caleb Whitman (center) gets a photo with some of the Carolina Baseball players visiting Alexander Wilson Elementary School after a session on character building: (l-r) Korey Dunbar, Alex Raburn, Tyler Ramirez, Skye Bolt, and Zach Daly.

Karen Carter / Mebane Enterprise

Fourth grader Caleb Whitman (center) gets a photo with some of the Carolina Baseball players visiting Alexander Wilson Elementary School after a session on character building: (l-r) Korey Dunbar, Alex Raburn, Tyler Ramirez, Skye Bolt, and Zach Daly.

Tar Heels give students life-long lessons
Alexander Wilson Elementary School students get a visit from Carolina Baseball team
By Karen Carter, Enterprise Editor The Mebane Enterprise 11/26/13  
Reprinted with permission.

Students line up to ask questions to the players.
Students line up to ask questions to the players.
Alexander Wilson Elementary students gather in the cafeteria for the Carolina Baseball visit.
Alexander Wilson Elementary students gather in the cafeteria for the Carolina Baseball visit.

The University of North Carolina Tar Heels Baseball team recently visited Alexander Wilson Elementary School to teach the students about character building.

As the players entered the gym for K-2 and the cafeteria for grades three through five, students chanted “Tar Heels” and pulled out their questions prepared ahead of time.

Paul Prelovsky, a teacher of exceptional children at the school and a Tar Heels fan since 1977 organized the school-wide event.

When he became a teacher at the local school this year, he made contact with UNC and arranged to have the visit.

Before coming to Alamance-Burlington Schools, Prelovsky had arranged for the Carolina Blue to visit Jackson Elementary School in Allentown, Penn., where he previously taught.

Thus, it was a natural thing for him to organize this historic lesson for students engaged in life-long learning.

Prelovsky said one of the UNC players, senior Matt Roberts, is a student athlete from Graham who has been on two trips to Omaha and the College World Series with Carolina.

After the visit and the lessons beyond baseball, the Carolina players signed about 400 autographs of things students had brought into Prelovsky’s room.

The group of players visiting Alexander Wilson included junior starting pitcher Benton Moss who led one of the sessions with the students.

The Enterprise covered the visit with the children in the cafeteria who heard from Carolina baseball players Korey Dunbar, Skye Bolt, Alex Raburn, Tyler Ramirez, and Zach Daly.

Introducing the Carolina players to the students, Prelovsky said they were champions on and off the field.

“They’ve made it to the College World Series six out of the past eight years, and they are talking to you about what it means to be student-athletes,” said Prelovsky.

“Hard work, never giving up, no matter what people say,” said Dunbar, builds character. “Keep grinding.”

Dunbar called character building a process of learning what “you are made of and how you respond to life when you don’t get what you want.

When you lose, how do you respond to the next day?”

“School doesn’t come easy for me,” said Raburn.

He told the students to put in the work to make the grades.

The students asked a lot of questions about Carolina baseball and about how to build character.

They heard from the players to practice and never give up.

Each one of the Carolina players talked about encouraging each other, especially when a player is in a slump. They also talked about how to trust the “long season” and help each other out, whether that be in the batting cage or simply a word to let them know they are “good, just struggling.” “Be there for them,” said Bolt.

The players said that the most important character trait to have is hard work and a strong work ethic and integrity.

“Stay positive; believe in your ability,” said Dunbar.

“Trust your teachers, your coaches, and teammates.”

One student asked how a player controls his temper.

Dunbar said, “Be willing to fail. You’re good if you get three out of 10 hits.
That means you will fail seven times. We have each other’s backs and calm each other down too.”

Alexander Wilson showed some results of character building too by having raised $1,700 the week before the visit for Relay for Life.