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They usually play against each other, but on the Mansfield ISD Athletics Day of Service, MISD student-athletes came together to lend a helping hand in various ways.

The service day was held on July 21, and more than 300 students from MISD middle schools and high schools attended.

After meeting at Vernon Newsom Stadium to get their assignments in the morning, they split into groups and headed on buses to schools and organizations all around Mansfield and Arlington.

“We’ve passed out groceries to those in need. We’ve come to several of our middle schools where we helped set up classrooms. We’re all over the place and trying to make a difference,” said Lake Ridge High School coach AJ Sheppard.

Sheppard said the definition of success is working together while helping others, and that’s exactly what is collectively being accomplished by the student-athletes every year on the day of service.

Student-athletes noted that it felt good to give back and make an impact.

“The day of service for me is giving back to my community that gives back to me all the time,” said Riley Lassiter, junior at Legacy High School. “It feels like I’m helping out something that’s always helped me out throughout my life.”

Other participants said that it has been a great time of reconnecting with people they haven’t seen in a while since school is in summer break.

“It’s been really good. I’ve been working with other Mansfield High School kids that I’ve grown up with, so it’s been fun connecting with them,” said Aidan Esquivel, senior at Mansfield High School.

When their tasks were finished, the students came back to the stadium for a meal in appreciation of all the hard work that was done.

“To all the volunteers: Thank you for being a part of this. Thank you for getting up and being a part of this success. Next year, we want to make it even bigger. We want to have other people around Mansfield join, and give us an opportunity to help you as well,” said Sheppard.

The mission of the MISD Athletics program is to promote excellence and build leaders with integrity and confidence through competition. Organizers said events like this help those students become great citizens inside and outside of their respective sports.

Some Mansfield ISD students are getting a head start on the upcoming school year by participating in a bridge program to introduce them to each other, their teachers and the unique way they’ll be learning at the district’s two fine arts academies.

This week, incoming third and fifth graders participated in an arts and music bridge camp at Brenda Norwood Elementary School.

“On a typical day, students get an equal amount of time in their core classes and their arts classes,” said third grade fine arts teacher Alexa Wright. “For some of them, it’s the first time they’ve ever done anything like this, especially in front of peers, so it was a really great way for them to break out of their shells a little bit.”

The fine arts academies at Brenda Norwood Elementary School and Alma Martinez Intermediate School—now in their second year—infuse core curriculum with the fine arts. Lessons include enriching fine arts skills such as creativity, problem solving, collaboration and self-discipline.

"We learned different styles of music and dance, and we were exploring theatre. I don’t mind traditional school, but I like this better because it’s really fun and unique,” said Rosalie Leavitt, an incoming fifth grader at Alma Martinez Intermediate School.

At the fine arts academies, students in third through fifth grades experience music, piano, dance, theatre and visual art. Fifth and sixth graders will also be introduced to orchestra, band and digital art.

“We know that coming into a school like this, especially an academy like, this is completely different than anything they’ve experienced before,” Wright said. “So, having the chance to get comfortable—to get to see the space, to get excited for what’s coming up—it’s really building those relationships now. So that way, we can hit the ground running on the first day of school and be able to create a lot of great things this year.”

The fine arts academies are offered through MISD's Power of Choice program. View more about the wide range of offerings here.

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