Students at the Flushing Christian School recently spent the day having hockey-related fun, and will continue to do so on April 2 when they perform the National Anthem at a New York Islanders game.
“We just wanted to work with a local major professional athletic league and we had the opportunity to work with the New York Islanders,” Flushing Christian School Director of Development Laura Hahn explained.
Hahn said that the Islanders responded very positively to the school, which has 68 students in kindergarten through eighth grade, and noted that “they care about the communities.”
The partnership between the school and Long Island-based hockey team kicked off on Saturday, October 23 when they joined forces to hold a funfest at the school. The students were able to play on an inflatable obstacle course, meet Islanders mascot Sparky the Dragon and learn how to play street hockey.
“It’s really a very beautiful spirit of community,” school Principal Karen Blatt said of the event.
The event was part of the Islanders Community Events (ICE) Tour, which creates an “interactive NHL theme park” for kids to enjoy. Islanders Group Executive Nick Lombardo explained that various events are held as part of the tour in Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Long Island, Connecticut and New Jersey.
Lombardo said the ICE Tour activities give the students a chance to stay active and healthy while using teamwork and their imaginations.
As the students start to learn more about sportsmanship and teamwork, Blatt said that for the first time the school held its own pep rally this year. Another first this year has been introducing a school mascot, the eagle.
Blatt said that all the students will be participating in singing the National Anthem and that she hopes everyone comes out to see them at the game. She said that although the students already know the National Anthem they will be practicing to make sure they know all the words.
“Everybody’s extremely excited,” she said.
Lombardo explained that school groups perform at each of the Islanders’ 42 home games. He said that it’s a good opportunity for the kids to be seen on the video board and to be part of something that not many people get to do.
When seventh grader Ryan Farescal, who lives in Corona, first heard about getting to sing at a game he said he was nervous about being in front of a large audience. However, now he said he’s also getting excited for it. He also said he’s looking forward to a chance to meet the players.
John Giuffré, of the school’s board of trustees, said that he hopes this experience shows the students that school isn’t just about studying and that it can be fun too.
Lombardo said he hopes the upcoming experience inspires the students at the Flushing Christian School to reach for things they thought they might not have been able to do.