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TF South alum and retired MLB All-Star Curtis Granderson visits Oak Glen to inspire students

LANSING, Ill. (March 30, 2024) – Retired major league baseball player and TF South alumnus Curtis Granderson visited Oak Glen Elementary School to inspire students with his life story at an assembly on March 12.

A panel of student leaders, also known as the Grizzlies of the Month, asked Granderson questions about his life and baseball career.

Nick DiGrispino, a paraprofessional at Oak Glen, organized the event after he interviewed Granderson during his Summer internship at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

About Curtis Granderson

Granderson attended TF South High School and grew up in Lynwood before being drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 2002. (Photo provided)

Curtis Granderson was born on March 16, 1981, in Blue Island but later moved to Lynwood where his father went to work as the dean and physical education teacher at Nathan Hale Elementary School in Lansing.

Granderson played on the baseball team while attending TF South High School in Lansing. After high school, he went on to play college baseball at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

His outstanding stats resulted in being selected by the Detroit Tigers in the 2002 MLB draft. He played for the New York Yankees, New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Toronto Blue Jays as an outfielder.

In 2020, he retired after 16 years of playing in the major leagues. He has also been an MLB all-star three times during his career.

Granderson has spent the past 18 years giving back to the community including inner-city children. He founded the Grand Kid Foundation in 2007 to aid with positive youth development through education, physical fitness, and nutrition.

Granderson received the Roberto Clemente Award in 2016 for his contributions to the community.

Grizzlies of the Month

Grizzlies of the Month is a new program Oak Glen started this year to acknowledge outstanding students. The teachers choose outstanding students from each grade level every month to serve as the Grizzlies of the Month.

Eight Oak Glen “Grizzlies of the Month” were chosen from third, fourth, and fifth grade to ask Granderson questions at the assembly. (Photo provided)

“These kids are doing the things that we remind them of every day, being respectful, safe, kind, and helping other people out. The kind of kids that stand out and are always doing the right thing and sometimes those types of behaviors go unnoticed so it’s a way to show them that we see all the hard work you do and all the help you are providing for other people,” said Michael Earnshaw, Principal at Oak Glen Elementary School.

“Those are the characteristics we use to pick out Grizzles of the Month,” he said.

Earnshaw said he met with this month’s third, fourth, and fifth grade Grizzles to choose ten questions to ask Granderson at the assembly.

“I had every classroom in the school submit questions to me,” said Earnshaw. “Curtis said ‘Nothing was off the table.’”

Recap of the Curtis Granderson assembly

The panel of students asked Granderson about his salary, what he did to train for games in the past, and his favorite baseball games.

Students in the audience also had the opportunity to ask him questions as well.

Granderson answered questions from the student leaders and students in the audience about his life and baseball career. (Photo provided)

Earnshaw says Granderson motivated the kids by stressing the importance of education and kindness to others.

“I think what was so important and impactful is he sent a message to the kids that sports are more than just practicing and playing. It is all of these other facets of why we are in school, why we need to treat others with respect, and why we need to rely on a team and not just one person,” said Earnshaw.

The first graders presented Granderson with handmade birthday cards as his birthday was on the following Saturday. The event ended with the entire school singing Happy Birthday to him.

Granderson passed out baseballs and signed items for students before leaving the school.

To listen to Nick DiGrispino’s interview with Granderson, visit www.sabr.org.

Oak Glen Elementary School is located at 2101 182nd Street in Lansing.

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Kinise Jordan
Kinise Jordan
Kinise Jordan brings local experience and a long list of journalism skills to her work with The Lansing Journal. She understands the need for reliable, factual information in equipping people to build community. An Audio News internship with WBEZ honed her interviewing skills and her sense of timing and deadlines. A native of Calumet City, Kinise is familiar with the interplay of local government, local schools, and local businesses.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Kudos to Mr Granderson for his teaching moments to kids and giving back to the community. An excellent role model! 👏👍

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