"We Are In This Together Forever" - authored by 9-year-old Quinn Pesicka, who lost her battle to cancer in 2015 and who's memory we have dedicated this program
This educational program was developed by the Sioux Falls Storm Pro Football Club with the assistance and sponsor support from area businesses.This program is designed to aid all classifications of the student age groups (K-12) and can be offered as a tool for teachers to help kids maintain a positive image of school. For those students at the middle and upper age classroom levels, this program can help kids begin to strive and plan ahead towards completion of high school (including rewards for students that find school challenging). This program seeks to offer students opportunities to have positive school-related experiences that does not necessarily depend on academic performance.
The Champions Stay In The Game initiative has five integrated components that starts with students working together as a team, on individual well-being development and community service. They include:
- Read to Succeed (Grades K-8)
- School is Cool (Grades 2-5)
- Future Stars (Grades 5-8)
- Huddle Up (Grades 9-12)
- Second Down (Grades 9-12)
Pictured above are Hailey Ann Nold (Washington High School) and Blake Chesley (Roosevelt High School), recipients of the 2017 Quinn Pesicka Memorial Scholarship Awards - each winning $2,500 Scholarships. Pictures are the Kate & David Pesicka Family and Storm Scholarship Program Sponsors. Photo credit: TSlat.com
Participating Schools in 2018
- Discovery Elementary School
- Garfield Elementary School
- Hayward Elementary School
- John F. Kennedy Elementary School
- RF Pettigrew Elementary School
- Rosa Parks Elementary School
- Terry Redlin Elementary School
Participating Sponsors in 2018
Read to Succeed (Grades K-8)
This program helps to develop the child's vocabulary and leisure reading skills. The Storm will make available Team Players and Lightning Girls Cheer Team members. Once activated, incentive prizes can be awarded from the Storm and business sponsors based on the level of books read, etc.
School is Cool (Grades 2-5)
This program helps to encourage kids in elementary school to maintain a positive attitude toward school and to work towards being a good teammate to one another both in the class & lunch rooms as well as on the school playground. With the support of the Storm Players and Coaches, this program can serve as a team building activity where teachers assign the students into groups to develop a project based on the theme "My School is Cool because _______" in addition to "I Am a Good Teammate because _______". The emphasis on this program is to start showing the students at an early age that "teamwork" is essential to stay in the game and that working together gives everyone a sense of belonging vs. feeling isolated and alone.
Future Stars (Grades 5-8)
This program helps students to reaffirm their commitment to school and become more involved in school activities such as music, art, theatre, and other club programs. This category will continue team building activity as well where teachers will assign students into groups to plan out a community project or internal fundraiser with special rewards for the top producers.
Huddle Up (Grades 9-12)
The aim of this program is to bring some of our players to schools to work with a select group of students and help motivate them to the finish line and beyond. The Storm would also like to help instill the importance of the students to begin to involve themselves in community service specifically working as a team to develop a project for their school, charitable organization and or cause (working through the Storm Football Club on the latter two). By participating in a community oriented program, the goal is to give the students a greater sense of place within their community and a feeling of personal accomplishment other than by achieving academic success.
Second Down (Grades 9-12)
In football, there are three tries to make a first down in order to keep the offensive team moving down the field with a chance to score a touchdown. The Storm would like to provide HOPE to a select group of students that they can come back for the Second Down in the game of life even if they've failed at their first attempt. In sports we award athletes the "Most Improved Player" - this would be a chance for a student that has struggled in school to have a chance to compete for a scholarship not so much based on their grade level as the top criteria but it would be based on the student's overall effort in school, attitude towards class, attendance combined with extra curricular school activities and volunteer service.
Based on the needs of the school, the Storm organization can work with the students to develop a fundraising program that can help support educational field trips, playground repairs, new gym equipment purchases, band and cheerleader camps, lunch milk & meal needs, or come to the aid of a fellow student or family stricken by illness and in need of financial assistance, etc.
At each home game, the Storm also will host a special classroom activities session for elementary school students. A total of 50 students from any combination of K-5 grade levels are invited. The student and their parents each get free tickets to the game. Two Storm players will meet with the kids in a private room set up like a classroom. The players will talk about the Champions Stay In The Game program for a period of 15 minutes. The Storm Lightning Girls will take turns reading a book to the kids and discuss "Good Choices vs. Bad Choices". Each child attending the session will receive a Free Box of Popcorn compliments of SPECTRA Food Services at the Denny Sanford Premier Center. The classroom session takes approximately 30 minutes from 5:45-6:15 PM for every 7:05 PM game start.
The Storm will provide all participating schools in the "Champions Stay In The Game" program with special price arrangements for the family members to attend games throughout the Football season.
Towards the end of the 2018 Indoor Football League season, the Storm, through its Quinn Pesicka Memorial Scholarship Awards program, will award two (2) Senior High School students EACH with a $2,500 Scholarship. The award primarily will be based on a student's commitment to volunteerism and community service projects and that a student maintains a minimum 3.0 grade-point-average throughout their high school academic studies.
About Quinn Pesicka
Quinn, at the tender age of nine, lost her fight to cancer in June of 2015. She was a 4th grade student at R.F. Pettigrew Elementary School in Sioux Falls. Quinn's favorite subject was Reading. Her favorite thing about school was being a part of a Team. Her Parents (Kate & David) said: "Quinn loved being a classmate with everyone and cheering them on and having other students cheer her on. She just truly loved being a part of something bigger than herself." At home, her sense of family was definitely a defining characteristic of Quinn. She told her family and friends over and over throughout her battle with cancer that "We Are In This Together Forever". Her Dreams about her future varied. Said Kate & David: "For Quinn, they were always centered around helping others. She was always talking about how she wanted to make other people happy and to feel better."