Tracy, CA - Saint Mary's men's basketball player, Omar Samhan, took some time away from the classroom, and the court, to visit the Advancement Via Individualized Determination (AVID) students at Williams Middle School in Tracy on Wednesday. This marks the second visit Samhan has made to a Northern California school this school year.
"As educators, we can tell kids what they need to do in life to succeed, but it means a lot more to them when it comes from a young adult who has similar life experiences," said Sam Strube, Assistant Principal at Williams Middle School.
Samhan, a senior at Saint Mary's, spoke to 170 AVID 6th, 7th, and 8th graders about his upbringing, the College, and what it took for him to become a student-athlete at Saint Mary's. AVID prepares students in the academic middle for four-year college eligibility. These are largely low-income students and most will be the first in their family to attend college. Williams Middle School is one of 118 (of the 4,000 AVID programs nationwide) schools that has earned the honor of being an AVID National Demonstration School.
"Hearing a message from a young, successful student-athlete about working hard, not quitting on one's dreams, and taking school seriously, resonated with our students and made them feel like they can also accomplish great things," said Michelle Simas, counselor at Williams Middle School.
Samhan and the Gaels are working hard in preparation for their first game of the 2009-10 season on Friday, November 13 when they take on New Mexico State. Tip-off is set for 8:30 p.m. from McKeon Pavilion, on the Saint Mary's campus.