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Lady Cavs begin reading program at local school

Darton State outfielder Jordan Watson reads to kindergarten students at Kinchafoonee Primary School on Tuesday. (Darton State College/Special to The Herald)

Darton State outfielder Jordan Watson reads to kindergarten students at Kinchafoonee Primary School on Tuesday. (Darton State College/Special to The Herald)

LEESBURG — Darton softball coach Eric Neel took the helm of the Lady Cavs program with only three weeks to prepare for a Feb. 1 season opener, but that didn’t stop him from immediately taking his new team into the community.

On Tuesday, the Lady Cavs began what will be a weekly visit to Kinchafoonee Primary School, where individual members of the team will visit different classrooms and read to children.

It may seem like a lot for a new coach to take on considering the long days that often begin with pre-dawn conditioning sessions and end with evening recruiting calls, but Neel said he’s been involved with elementary schools at every coaching job he’s had, and he sees no reason to stop now.

“Our girls loved it,” he said. “They feed off of the excitement there. It’s just fun, positive energy. The way I look at it, it benefits both parties.”

Kindergarten teacher Denise Rogers lauded the Lady Cavs as positive role models for her students. Rogers’ classroom hosted sophomore outfielder Jordan Watson, who from a rocking chair read a book about a chicken who constantly interrupted his father’s bedtime stories.

“My students absolutely love having guest readers,” Rogers said. “The girls are also a good example for our students. They show how important it is to work hard and continue their education.”