Longhorns reach out and into the community
Oct. 26, 2009
AUSTIN, Texas -- University of Texas rower Nancy Arrington couldn't keep from smiling and laughing on Sunday, and the reasons why were obvious.
Superman, Batman and even Wonder Woman.
Arrington was one of more than 50 student-athletes who volunteered at Longhorn Halloween, a carnival-like celebration at the Frank Erwin Center for children of the UT community. Arrington kept giggling at the kids in costumes, running around and snooping for candy.
"There are so many happy kids and faces," Arrington said. "It's infectious."
UT Athletics set up an area where children could get their faces painted, and then try shooting baskets on the goals used in the arena for the men's and women's basketball teams. Members of the UT Women's Swimming and Diving team walked through the arena concourse, and handed out certificates for the best costumes.
The main prize, however, was a handful of candy, which was donated by the men's and women's sports programs.
Women's Tennis coach Patty Fendick-McCain was on hand, but simply as a mom. She and her three little children collected candy and toured the fire truck and police car stationed on the Erwin Center floor.
"This is an annual pilgrimage for us," Fendick-McCain said. "We just love all the involvement between the student-athletes and all the other students from all over campus. It's a great community effort, and really so much fun."
Longhorn Halloween capped off a week of community outreach for UT student-athletes.
The Women's Soccer team took part in the "Light the Night for Leukemia" event Saturday night and hosted a skills clinic for area youth on Sunday afternoon.
Last Wednesday, more than 40 student-athletes were also at the Erwin Center to celebrate with the Neighborhood Longhorns Program, an educational incentive program operated by The University of Texas in partnership with the Austin Independent School District.
The occasion was the Neighborhood Longhorns annual scholarship banquet. This year, 441 students were honored for maintaining an 85 or better average in every class, meeting the reading component at their campus, improving overall average in each grading period and maintaining excellent attendance.
This marked the Neighborhood Longhorns Program signature annual event, because students also are greeted by University Federal Credit Union representatives who assist them in signing up for their scholarship savings accounts. Students are eligible for the account from second through eighth grades.
The scholarship is deposited into a savings account, and cannot be withdrawn until the student graduates from high school and attends an institution of higher learning. If the student goes on to attend The University of Texas, Neighborhood Longhorns will match the amount in the account.
UT student-athletes mingled with the more than 1,200 in attendance at the banquet, presented specially recognized students with awards and medals and, at the conclusion of the night, led everyone on stage in the singing of "The Eyes of Texas."
"It was very special for us," UT rower Felicia Izaguirre-Werner said. "I just wanted to encourage the students to keep working hard, and help them understand how important education is in their lives."