Essay contest earns Tippecanoe Middle School special Cincinnati Reds visit

(From left to right) Tyler Stephenson, Amir Garret, Todd Benzinger, Jeff Brantley and Dick Williams talk to students at Tippecanoe Middle School January 26th, 2018.

TIPP CITY, Ohio (WDTN) – An enthusiastic assistant principal and an essay helped sway the Cincinnati Reds to stop by Tippecanoe Middle School Friday. The school was selected as one of four special visits during the Reds Caravan Tour.

Assistant principal Clayton Lavercombe helped write the essay which caught the organization’s eye.

“The thing that we focused on was having the players and celebrities here talk about the positive influences in their lives and how they made an impact,” Lavercombe said.

Friday’s visitors included Reds broadcaster Jim Day, broadcaster and former player Jeff Brantley, former player Todd Benzinger, current pitcher Amir Garret, minor league draft pick Tyler Stephenson, general manager Dick Williams and mascot Rosie Red.

Their appearance included a short meet and greet with select students, followed by a question and answer session with the entire middle school.

Jeff Brantley said, “It’s just kind of fair play to be able to go back out into their hometowns and come and see them, as a Reds broadcaster or a baseball player, and bring the game to the fans, if you will.”

Prompted by a question from one of the students, each of the current and former players offered a piece of advice about hard work and following dreams.

Some of the young fans said they were awestruck.

Laney Cleckner, 6th grade, said, “I normally watch from high. And to see their faces up close is pretty cool.”

Peyton Schultz, 6th grade, added, “It was just cool that they came in. (They’re) the big superstars I see on TV.”

If you’d like to see the Reds Caravan, the team will be visiting the Air Force Museum Saturday, January 27th from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

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