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Homewood-Flossmoor High School baseball players’ schedules are crammed with course work, practices and games, but they’ve been making the rounds to local elementary schools to share positive messages.
First graders at Homewood's Willow School listen to Homewood-Flossmoor High School baseball player Xavier Frazier reads them a story about kindness.
  Willow School first-graders
  listen to H-F High School
  baseball player Xavier Frazier,
  second from left, read them
  a story about kindness. The
  players from left, John Pohrte,
  Frazier, Chad Readey, Varsity
  Coach John McCarthy, Tyler
  Schlaffer and Jacob Schroeder
  were at the school April 26.

  (Photo by Marilyn Thomas/
  HF Chronicle)

Varsity Coach John McCarthy had his players share Pay It Forward time at Flossmoor District 161 schools, Infant Jesus of Prague School and with first-graders at Homewood’s Willow School.

Willow students in teacher Mattie Walsh’s class were excited to have the coach and players Jacob Schroeder, Tyler Schlaffer, Chad Readey, Xavier Frazier and John Pohrte sit with them for nearly 30 minutes reading stories that helped reinforce anti-bullying and kindness messages, while promoting the value of reading.
Frazier, an H-F junior, read one of the stories. His was about a boy with a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails telling him to pound a nail into a fence every time he got mad. The first week he pounded 30-plus nails. Over time, he learned to control is temper. 
His father then told him to pull the nails out. When they stood before the fence his father pointed out all the holes that scarred the fence. He reminded his son that every time he hurt someone with words or actions he left a scar on them.
“Every time you say something mean to somebody, that stays with them in their heart,” the coach told the first graders. “When you say something mean to somebody else you might think that makes you feel good, but you hurt that person.” 
McCarthy said the H-F administration has been supportive of his efforts to take players and their positive messages into local schools. He said team members were really “the stars” of the program.
After their visit, Pohrte said: “The kids seemed happy for us to be there. It made us feel good, too.”

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