Tony Alford Inspires Pennsylvania Fifth Graders

Author: Timothy O'Connor


Notre Dame Running back coach Tony Alford has made a great impact on a 5th grade classroom in Bellefonte, PA.Thanks to Coach Alford the students at Bellefonte Elementary received an assignment called “Wake up the Echoes”. Wake up the Echoes, to those familiar with Notre Dame, symbolizes a return to its glory of years past. It refers to long standing traditions that are true to Notre Dame, the biggest ones of all being the traditions of excellence, winning, and success at the highest levels.

The 5th graders took this and made it their theme for this school year, but most of the students are not familiar with the history and traditions of Notre Dame. Coach Alford decided to break down the slogan and make it better relate to the students so they could apply it to their daily life and schoolwork. He spoke about the tradition of American youth, how they were viewed collectively and how that has changed. Then he challenged them to set an example that the school had never seen before, and start a tradition of excellence in that classroom so students for years to come would know what it meant to Wake up the Echoes from years past and exhibit the same excellence they would exhibit this year.

The specific areas Coach Alford challenged were being respectful at all times, being passionate in everything you do, being helpful, standing up for what’s right, and stepping out of their comfort zone to make new friends. Below is a quote from teacher Shane Chapman on the impact it had on the class, and pictures of their work.

“It led to a great discussion and the children enjoyed every bit of it. Once again, THANK YOU for being a POSITIVE DIFFERENCE MAKER. Best wishes to you and your family and GOOD LUCK the rest of the season.


Student Drawings