USM athletes visit DuBard School students on ‘Black and Gold Day’

USM football players, cheerleaders visit DuBard School students Friday
Published: Sep. 1, 2023 at 5:15 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Ahead of their season-opening football game, the University of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles met with a few of their small, but mighty, fans.

USM cheerleaders and football players alike attended “Black and Gold Day” Friday at the DuBard School for Language Disorders, located on the USM campus.

The day included a pep rally filled with dance and cheering and focused mainly on building leadership skills and empathy.

“I think it’s just a great partnership with the university because it allows us to share the hard work that our students have, and then they learn about the hard work that the university students have to do as well,” Director Missy Schraeder said.

Schraeder said the annual event was an opportunity for the students and athletes to get a glimpse into each other’s worlds.

“They (adults) think that it’s just real easy to learn how to talk and listen,” Schraeder said. “We all kinda take that for granted.

“But, then you see the problems that our children have with speech and language and academics and realize that that gift of language doesn’t come easy for everyone.”

Friday marked the second time cheerleaders Nisa Hayes and Kaley Weaver attended the event.

“I just hope that we can show them leadership and just excitement that they (can experience) when they can be a football player or cheerleader or any sports that they want to play,” Weaver said. “I think it’s really exciting to see someone in-person here at their own school.”

Both girls said they enjoyed getting to know the students and being a source of inspiration.

“Being a cheerleader, that’s a big part of what we do,” Hayes said. “Just making people’s days a little better, so it’s nice getting to do that for the kids.”

USM starting quarterback Billy Wiles attended for the first time Friday.

Wiles said he jumped at the opportunity.

“I wanted to do it, right away,” Wiles said. “It just sounded like a great opportunity to have a positive influence on these kids.”

The athletes said they would attend the event again and do something similar to it outside of school.

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