By Kayleigh Tritschler
The Harding University volleyball team spends a small portion of their Wednesday mornings with the children at McRae Elementary School. At 7 a.m., the volleyball women greet the kids as they go to school.
“Whenever we go to the car line, we go on Wednesday mornings, and we open up the doors in place of the teachers,” junior libero Emma Winiger said. “We go out there so that the teachers can get ready. We say good morning to the kids and make sure they have everything in their bags. It’s just a great way to start off our days and theirs.”
The team got plugged into this specific elementary school in the Searcy area because of a connection their coach had with the school.
“My son attends McRae Elementary, so I reached out to their principal to see if there was any way Harding volleyball could be of service to her or the school,” head women’s volleyball coach Meredith Fear said. “We started doing it last fall and continued this semester as well.”
This opportunity allows the team to bond outside of the volleyball court and puts Harding students into the Searcy community.
“The Harding community is so easy to get plugged into, but then the Searcy community, outside of Harding, it’s really cool to find ways to get plugged into that community,” junior outside hitter Ally Stoner said. “I love doing the car line because even at seven in the morning the kids have this energy to them and this joy that they bring. Doing this with my teammates who also bring so much joy, I love that, and it’s just super fun.”
Even in the freezing cold weather, wrapped up in their coats, the team makes an effort to be at the school from 7:30-8 a.m., helping the kids out of their cars and safely into the building.
“One thing that has been … difficult is whenever the weather would be bad we would be out there bundled up in the cold,” Winiger said. “It’s been really great now that the weather is nice out.”
This early morning time with the McRae students will continue for the team in the future and could possibly look different next semester.
“We definitely plan to continue working with McRae in the future,” Fear said. “We are hopeful that next year we may be able to get back into the classrooms and help in a bigger way.”