Rensselaer Athletics and the National Grid Foundation invited local children from Troy’s School 16 and the YMCA to participate in “Shoot for the Stars,” a program designed to motivate students to improve their academic performance and attendance and to serve their community. “Shoot for the Stars” rewards students and a guest with tickets to select Rensselaer men’s or women’s ice hockey games.
During the men’s Division I hockey game against Dartmouth College on Nov. 8, deserving school students were highlighted in a pre-game on-ice recognition presentation. Rensselaer Vice President for Institute Advancement Graig Eastin and Associate Athletics Director Kevin Beattie welcomed Robert Keller, National Grid Foundation president, and Rensselaer County Executive Kathleen Jimino to participate in the presentation.
“I really loved going to the RPI hockey game on Saturday,” said Ella Miller, a fourth-grader at Troy Elementary School. “It was very fun. I got to sit with my friends and drop the puck (yay!). I liked that they played the buzzer whenever RPI scored. Also, I was excited that they won! The Shoot for the Stars program is pretty awesome. If you’re doing well in school, you can get a free ticket to an RPI hockey game and a T-shirt. I think the program is really cool and I hope I get another ticket later in the year.”
The “Shoot for the Stars” program began at Rensselaer in January 2014 with children from the Troy City School District. The National Grid Foundation is supporting the program with a $10,000 investment. The program will give away a total of 600 tickets during the year.
“Rensselaer is excited to partner with National Grid Foundation to encourage local school children to be the best they can be inside and outside the classroom. We are confident this initiative will have far-reaching effects for motivating and rewarding students to achieve greatness,” said Jim Knowlton, director of athletics.
As role models to the young people in the community, Rensselaer male and female scholar-athletes act as mentors to the program participants. Having female role models such as Rensselaer women’s hockey players is one way to promote the increased participation and interest of young female students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields and sports, Beattie said.
“The National Grid Foundation is excited to partner with Rensselaer on this important endeavor. We are confident that the students of Troy will excel in the classroom, with the help of Rensselaer’s exceptional scholar-athletes and the reward of a Rensselaer hockey game,” said Bob Keller, president of the National Grid Foundation.