The students of Gloverville Elementary School got an opportunity that most people never get in a lifetime, while hearing an important message Friday at 12:15 p.m.
Bruce Capers, a former Harlem Globetrotter and student life director and men's basketball coach at Aiken Technical College, showed off a few of his old moves – much to the children's excitement – along with teaching them three life lessons at U-Knighted 4 Fitness “Students Get Active” event.
“You must stay off drugs, you must eat right, and you must exercise, you got that?” Capers said.
In response, the kids shouted in agreement.
Capers brought along his basketball team to lend a hand. ATC's Student Government Association, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and softball team were present, as well.
Since the students made “commitments” about being healthier, the whole school was required to take one lap around the track, with the ATC students joining them, said Michelle Padgett, principal of Gloverville Elementary School.
U-Knighted 4 Fitness was started by ATC's SGA on Sept. 5 through the nursing department as one of its many efforts to get the school and community healthier.
The program uses a person's BMI, waist inches, blood pressure and heart rate to track their fitness level, said Mallory Harmon, SGA treasurer and nursing student.
“We've had some people lose some inches; we've had some people lose a lot of weight. It's been really good. We've had a lot of people really interested in it,” she said.
More than 120 people have signed up so far, said Faith Moore, president of SGA.
The fitness program runs until Dec. 5.
The SGA gets the fitness word out through its other events, like the United 4 Fitness Breast Cancer Walk that was held on Wednesday, and social media, like its Facebook and Pinterest pages.
After the lap around the track, the elementary students walked single-file into their classrooms.
A handful of first-graders were happy about how they spent the day.
Malachi Bass was clearly thinking about what he just experienced.
“I like the part when we was doing around the lap, around the course,” Bass said.
Zachary Langley said he enjoyed all of Capers' tricks, while Aiden Moyer said he liked when Capers was “spinning the ball with one finger.”
Capers made a side character out of his basketball, talking and listening to it like a person. This amused most of the children, including Siddh Patel.
Capers has entertained on every continent expect Antarctica during his eight years with the Harlem Globetrotters.
One day, he decided to go back to get his master's at Valdosta State University, with his undergraduate being from Berry College, and, eventually, applied for the position at Aiken Technical College.
“I always knew, when my playing days were over, I always knew I wanted to be a basketball coach,” he said. “I always wanted to work with young people because I think one of the things that allowed me to experience some success in my life is that I had a lot of positive people who wanted to work with me.”
The decision to move to Aiken was an easy one, as he is from Savannah and has a sister and brother-in-law at Fort Gordon and another sister in Atlanta.
“I wanted to coach, but I wanted to do it some place close by where I can make up lost time with my family,” he said.
Being part of a team for so long and then separating from it is not without its strings.
“I miss the fans, I miss my teammates and I miss meeting people all over the world,” he said.
However, he is part of the Harlem Globetrotters Alumni and keeps up regular contact with his old teammates.
The event was broken into two sessions so the whole school could attend and lasted until 2 p.m.