WASHINGTON, NC (WNCT) – ECU’s basketball team visited Jessica Harrison’s second and third grade class at John C. Tayloe Elementary School in Washington to talk with students about the importance of being a student first and an athlete second.

“Ms. Harrison’s idea was to bring these athletes in to speak to her children, and we were very supportive of that idea,” said Bubs Carson, the school’s principal.

The kids practiced “Go Pirates” chants and listened to the players talk.

“Most of the kids at our school love sports,” said Harrison. “They really look up to those college players, and so I felt like bringing some of those players in would give them the opportunity to see some of those role models in action, hear what they have to say, and maybe it would motivate them to do better in school.”

ECU shooting guard BJ Tyson had the chance to wow students by leaping over them for a slam dunk.

“I thought when he did that, I thought that he was going to hit one of the kids, but he didn’t,” said second-grader Makenzie Green. “I was freaking out. My legs were really, really shaky.”

Besides awing them with his basketball skills, Tyson also shared advice.

“You’re telling them what you had to go through when you was little, and what they need to look for because a lot of people look up to guys like us,” Tyson said. “So we come here, and we put a smile on the kid’s face, and that’s what helps them.”

Carson said he hopes the Pirates’ visit inspired the students to do better in school.

“Athletes are students as well,” Carson said. “I think BJ made a great point, that they are student athletes, not athlete students.”

Harrison said her students had a great time.

“You could see on their faces, especially when they got to go out there with those guys,” said Harrison. “They were so tall, and they didn’t even know what to think. It was really fun, and I’m just so thankful for the guys coming out today.”

Makenzie said she hopes to see the Pirates again.

“It was fun, exciting, awesome,” Makenzie said. “Could you please, please tell them to come back? I want to play basketball.”