Jock Jams raises money for local school

Members+of+the+baseball+team+perform+their+routine+during+the+14th+annual+Jock+Jams+at+Cartwright+Hall+on+Tuesday%2C+April+12%2C+2016.

Members of the baseball team perform their routine during the 14th annual Jock Jams at Cartwright Hall on Tuesday, April 12, 2016.

Eric Conway

Once a year, the athletic teams at Kent State take a break from their typical practices and games to compete against one another for a local cause. On Tuesday night, student athletes dropped their weights, bats and clubs to transform Cartwright Hall into a dancehall with their 14th Annual Jock Jams.

Each participating team performed a skit or dance number in front of the audience. Athletes were out of their elements; off the fields, courts and courses. Instead, they performed on stage dancing and singing, in order to raise money for Holden Elementary School, a Kent city school.

Jock Jams has historically benefitted the American Cancer Society. Last year, Kent State Athletics decided the event should benefit a cause closer to the student-athletes.

“We wanted this event to benefit our surrounding community,” said Katie Schilling, a Student-Athlete Advisory Committee faculty advisor. “We are aware there are kids in the local elementary schools who come to school hungry because they face poverty at home.”

All the proceeds from Jock Jams goes toward benefiting Holden. Last year, $1,200 was raised to help supply breakfast for children who come from low-income families.

Kent State student-athletes traveled to Holden to teach the children about their respective sports, spend time in the classrooms, play with them at recess and become academic mentors throughout the year.

“This is my first year doing this with Kent State University,” said Todd Poole, Holden principal, “and it helps a lot with the development of the students at Holden. Roughly 80 percent of the students receive free or reduced (priced) lunches.”

Poole said most of the students at Holden come from low-income families, and he enjoys the event because “everything’s for the kids.”

The student athletes entertained the crowd with dance routines that showcased popular moves from the decades, and others showcased unlikely talented singers just as the football team did.

“Jock Jams is one of our proudest accomplishments as athletes at Kent State,” said Alex Miklos, president of Kent State’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. “Other universities are trying to start an event like ours.”

Last night, the men and women’s track and field teams won the jam with their renditions of Michael Jackson’s famous moonwalk, Grease’s ever popular “Grease Lightning,” and the “Macarena.”

“It allows the athletes to have fun,” said Chanitta Westbrooks, a senior track and field athlete. “It takes away from the stress of our practices because we’re still in season. We haven’t won since my freshman year, so this is a great feeling.”

Schilling looks to maintain the close relationship between student-athletes and local schools.

“The hardest part about this event is participation,” Schilling said, “because many of the athletic teams are still in season, but every team was able to take part in tonight. This year was another success and the total amount raised looks to be around the same as last year: $1,200.”

Eric Conway is a sports reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]