Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bucs guard reigns as Lanier Elementary principal - for a day

TAMPA — "Good Morning, Mr. Pamphile," a classroom of Lanier Elementary School second graders shouted to Buccaneer offensive guard Kevin Pamphile.

It's the greeting you expect for any professional football player, but it's a bit louder when that player is serving as principal.

At least for a day.

Pamphile and two other Buccaneer team members arrived at the South Tampa school Tuesday morning, laden with boxes of books, flash cards, pencils Legos, educational games and Buccaneer stickers to promote the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Lanier Elementary is the first of about 10 area schools that will be designated in the coming months as STEM program schools where students will be encouraged to develop an interest in studying science and related fields.

"Students who are proficient in science, technology, engineering and mathematics at an early age will undoubtedly set themselves up for a great future," says Hillsborough County Schools Superintendent Jeff Eakins. "Most of the jobs of the 21st century will require this skill set."

As the leader of the Bucs' STEM SQUAD, Pamphile first visited a number of classrooms to build their enthusiasm for the day-long STEM program, co-sponsored by New York-based Athletes for Charity and the Ford Motor Company.

Pamphile told each classroom how proud he was of them and said he had come to, "congratulate you for being such great leaders and to celebrate your learning."

Stretching his arms wide, he asked if the children were "happy" to see him.

They, of course, shouted back an exuberant "yes!".

Pamphile told them that before becoming a Buccaneer he attended Purdue University where he majored in sports science.

"I love science, the whole knowledge of science," he said, urging the children to "set goals" and study hard.

He apparently loves dancing, as well, joining one classroom in impromptu dance steps set to music.

After his classroom tour, Pamphile and his fellow Bucs players, Clinton McDonald and Andrew DePaola (they were Assistant Principals for a Day) met with groups of children in the school media center.

Throughout the day the players distributed STEM-related books and learning materials, led "interactive" STEM games, and encouraged fourth and fifth graders to enter a STEM essay contest.

Participating children were asked to write an essay about the books they received from the players.

Winners, to be announced in about a month, will receive a variety of prizes: tickets to Bucs games, autographed items from Bucs players, Lego products to foster hands-on learning, and field trips to local educational institutions.

While meeting with first group — about 50 kindergarten children — the Bucs players read from Dr. Seuss' "Cat in the Hat" and then gave the children their own copies of the book, as well as other educational materials.

The goal of the STEM program, according to Athletes for Charity founder Cathleen Laporte, is to "invest time and resources" to develop creative ways to promote interest and proficiency among school-age children in science-related subjects and careers.

Enlisting the participation of professional athletes and partnering with companies like Ford is an effective way to help children succeed as adults, Laporte said.

"We want to make it fun and exciting for kids", she said.

Contact Sheila Mullane Estrada at

Bucs guard reigns as Lanier Elementary principal - for a day 09/29/16 [Last modified: Friday, September 30, 2016 8:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Baker cautious on Pride politics


    Rick and Joyce Baker strode down Central Avenue Sunday amid rainbow flags, corporate booths, and blaring music of the St. Pete Pride Festival.

    St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Rick Baker chats Sunday with people at the St. Pete Pride Festival. As mayor, Baker did not sign a Pride parade proclamation, but now he says he would.
  2. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.
  3. Lightning among early suitors for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he planned to explore free agency for potential needs, which include bolstering his blue line and adding a wing or two.

    Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who can be a free agent Saturday, counts the Lightning among his early suitors.
  4. Senate leaders try to appease members as support for health bill slips


    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders scrambled Sunday to rally support for their health care bill, even as opposition continued to build outside Congress and two Republican senators questioned whether the bill would be approved this week.

    Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday, is one of the five Republican senators who announced they cannot support the health care bill as drafted.
  5. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of June 26-July 2.


    Vans Warped Tour: The festival returns Saturday to St. Petersburg's Vinoy Park, featuring shock-metal icons Gwar, hardcore punks Sick Of It All, ska band Save Ferris and indie-pop group Never Shout Never ($39.50-$49.50). vanswarpedtour. …

    Crowd for the Motionless in White band at the 2014 Vans Warped Tour at Vinoy Park, Friday, July 25, 2014.  CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times