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Lacrosse making a difference in the lives of students at Booker Elementary School

Emma E. Booker Elementary School students in the Newtown section of Sarasota introduced to...
Emma E. Booker Elementary School students in the Newtown section of Sarasota introduced to lacrosse.(WWSB)
Published: May. 17, 2022 at 10:52 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Kids at Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota are now scoring goals in more ways than one. Around 100 boys and girls from the school playing the sport of lacrosse. The sport was introduced to them a few months ago and the kids say they are loving every minute of it.

“I like how you use the stick to grab the ball and stuff, it’s kind of like hockey,” said Demi Woods, a fifth grader.

Lacrosse is now part of the physical education curriculum at the school. Second through fifth graders are taking part in this sport. It was an exciting night on Tuesday for these young players. It was their first scrimmage against each other in a real game environment.

“It’s really rewarding to see the kids lives changed, this is something that they never really get to experience ever,” said Amber Rylak, a physical education teacher. “So it’s awesome to see them excited and growing as individuals.”

Coach Nick Mihailoff is the brains behind this. Lacrosse is a sport that you typically would not see in the Newtown section of Sarasota. The coach says it’s making a huge difference in the lives of these kids.

“With the educational opportunities both in high school and postsecondary that lacrosse affords to the kids,” said Mihailoff. “We wanted to make sure that every kid had the opportunity for that pathway of not only participation, but continuing education and lifelong learning.”

Lacrosse will be introduced to Booker Middle School and Booker High School over the next year. There’s optimism that there will be a varsity lacrosse team at the high school in the future.

“I love it a lot because it’s easy to learn, so I think lots of kids should love to play it,” said fourth-grader Antwan Clarkson.

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