Cavalier Corner

April 2015

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Page 46 of 56

IT STARTS WITH YOU THE PATH TO SUCCESS Academics Preparation Competition Service Graduation Lifelong Success ▼ ▼ ▼ ▼ ▼ an in-school program created in 2006 by a group of Cavalier football players — she also volunteers at the University of Virginia Children's Hospital and Madison House. Last summer, she gave more than 120 hours of her own time in the hospital's emergency de- partment, and she continues to make weekly appearances, even during the season. At Madison House, she participates in the Adopt-a-Grandparent program, which matches students with senior citizens. Third-year lacrosse midfielder Zach Wood hails from outside of Chicago, and he joked that attendance at his high school games never rose above 15 people — and they were all par- ents of players. The rapid sup- port of Virginia athletics from the community was appealing, but never as evident as the first time he helped with A.C.E. Wood estimated it was October of his first year on Grounds and, as a rookie, he was paired to go to a local middle school with established star Rob Emery. "These kids, I just remember their faces," he recalled. "They were almost shocked to see him, and then all of the sudden, they just came alive. The class totally flipped, and even the teacher was like, 'Is that Rob Em- ery? That's really cool.' "I just didn't think anything of it because I knew Rob and he was a friend of mine, but I never got to experi- ence a community of people getting behind lacrosse. I never saw it before where kids actually followed the sport and knew who the play- ers were." Since that first time, Wood has been no stranger to area schools. Sometimes, he is still surprised by the youth support of his particular team. Some teachers he has helped have brought their classes to home games. "It's a great way for student- athletes to give back to the Charlottesville community be- cause they come out in droves to support all sports," he ex- plained. "I was one of those kids that had so many idols when I was in third or fourth grade, and I can only imagine if my favorite player showed up at my school for an hour. It would've meant the world to me, and it's such a small part of our day." Football player Demetrious Nicholson is another player who freely gives his time to the community, although he is not from the area. The fourth-year cor- nerback is another A.C.E. volunteer, but he probably spends more time with the Boys and Girls Club. He also regularly visits the children's hospital during the team's weekly rounds. The players give kids signed posters and join in on their card games. Sometimes, they just talk with their young fans. Third-year lacrosse player Zach Wood takes part in the Athletes Committed to Community and Edu- cation (A.C.E.) program.

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