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Students come to Hurricanes aide
Students in Dr. Lee’a Proffitt’s fifth-grade writing class are busy writing letters on behalf of the Hinesville Hurricanes football team. The students hope the letters will generate community support and help the squad get new uniforms. - photo by Patty Leon

Students in Dr. Lee’a Proffitt’s fifth-grade writing class at Liberty Elementary School are learning how to write persuasively and helping the Hinesville Hurricanes semi-professional football team. They’re contacting potential sponsors and working to get the squad new uniforms for the 2010 summer season.

"They have different data and different supporting information on how the Hurricanes have helped the community and how the Hurricanes have contributed to the community," Proffitt said. "They are trying to convince the community to support the Hurricanes this season."

The Hinesville Hurricanes were established in Liberty County in 1999. The team offers adults of all ages a chance to play football and participate in community events.

Every year, squad members volunteer at the annual NFL Punt, Kick and Pass contest on Fort Stewart. The Hurricanes attend many other community events, including last Saturday’s Easter egg hunt on Fort Stewart. Last year, players visited Reyna Reinhard’s accelerated reading class and gave team T-shirts and gifts to students who reached their reading goals.

The Hurricanes even gave a commemorative team helmet to Liberty Elementary Principal Chris Anderson.

This year, Reinhard said, her students wanted to help the football team. She said a group of fourth- and fifth-graders wrote letters asking area businesses to help the Hurricanes acquire new uniforms.

"They care about youth a lot more than most teams do," fifth-grader Anthony Pierce said.

Pierce, who said he thinks about becoming a journalist, pieced together different ideas before completing his letter. "I’m looking at the paper and seeing how things come together," he said.

Another student, Tyreon Freeman, said he likes football and wanted to write a letter because he thought he could get the community to support the team. "They support the children in other schools," he said.

Reinhard said the students finished their letters Friday before spring break.

During the break, she and Hurricanes head coach James Sharp will select the winning letters, which will be distributed to local businesses.

"The children are a prime example of what a role model is," Sharp said. "Their excitement in writing the letter in support of the Hurricanes is an excellent example of true sportsmanship and is an unselfish act, which is what a true role model is, not for self but for others."

Reinhard said the first-, second- and third-place winners in each grade will receive trophies and will be invited, along with their families, to the Hinesville Hurricanes’ pre-season game on May 8 against the Beaufort Broncos.

Sharp said the game starts at 2 p.m. and Garrison Commander Sgt. Maj. James E. Ervin will likely toss the game coin.

In addition to the persuasive letter writing contest, Liberty Elementary is focused on enhancing students’ reading skills. The school partnered with the Savannah Sand Gnats for the Book Bugs Reading Program.

The program recognizes participants who reach 25 percent of their goal by awarding them special Sand Gnat prizes. Those who reach 100 percent of their reading goals will receive tickets to a Sand Gnats game on a night specifically dedicated to the school.

Liberty Elementary School’s game day is May 26. Students who receive tickets will parade around the infield before the game.

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