PAL Games Brought Area Elementary School Students to Piedmont Campus
The sixth Piedmont Athletic Lions (PAL) Games were held on March 24 in the Mize Athletic Center on the Demorest campus. The PAL Games is a group project created by Piedmont students in 2015 to provide a special day of camaraderie and competition for Piedmont University students and elementary school students with special needs. Thanks to donations and sponsorships, 74 elementary school students were able to participate this year.
Every elementary student was matched up with a Piedmont “pal” for the event. The activities included lacrosse, basketball, soccer, corn hole and the ever-popular minion bowling. Group dance to songs familiar to the students is always a big hit, with Leo the Lion, Piedmont’s school mascot, participating in the festivities. This year some of Piedmont’s basketball players entertained our guests with a 3-point challenge competition and Leo the Lion joined the fun.
Though student-led, it was through the work of Ann Sutton, executive assistant for Administration & Finance/Special Projects Management, that the event took shape as Sutton began planning with students months before the special day.
“What impacts me the most each year is watching our students give so much attention and respect to their ‘pals’ throughout the event,” Sutton said. “The fist-bumps, high-fives, encouragement, and hugs will linger in our young guests’ minds long after the PAL Games are over. Knowing that makes every bit of time and effort worth it.”
In addition to the huge number of athletes participating in the 2023 PAL Games, some of our Mass Communication students captured the story by filming the event, Communication Disorder students spent time with the students in the Quiet Room, and SAIL students made all the pals smile at the face painting station.
The project continues a growing commitment from Piedmont students and athletes to both become and stay involved with the local community while making a difference in the lives of those around them. These students give back to the local schools and extend their love for sports and their educational studies.