KNOXVILLE, Tenn — South Knoxville Elementary School is asking for help getting as many kids as possible to a University of Tennessee football game. The school is collecting tickets and giving them to students who have never been to a game.
On Friday, the Baker kids found out they were one of the lucky students that would be attending their first-ever Tennessee game. Now, this lucky family is getting ready for the Big Orange experience.
Norah Baker is in the first grade and said she’s been watching the Vols with her parents on TV for many years. She is excited to finally go to her first game, and also said, "Go Vols!"
Norah’s mom, Naomi Baker, graduated from the University of Tennessee and said there’s no time like the present to get the kids involved.
"I'm so excited! I think they're going to love it," she said. "We can hear the fireworks and it's really fun when we score points because we get to hear the fireworks from here."
Naomi has been to several games throughout the years but said the school is offering a new family experience.
"We have not gotten to take our kids to a game yet," she said. “We are so thankful for South Knoxville Elementary and Dr. Nicely for the opportunity.”
South Knoxville Elementary Principal, Dr. Tanna Nicely, said the idea came to her about 4 years ago when she saw folks on social media participating in a ticket dump.
"So I put out a tweet, 'Hey instead of dumping the tickets why don't you donate them to children that have never been to a University of Tennessee football game?'" Nicely said.
Before Nicely knew it, hundreds of donated tickets were making their way to the elementary school.
"We got to make it a family affair," she said. "We got to look at families, especially those who have two or more children in them, and just make it to where they can take their whole entire family and have the Vol experience."
She said it has educational benefits too. The program connects kids to the University of Tennessee in a new way, and she said the program also keeps tickets from going to waste.
"We're all excited about Tennessee football and it gives a connection not only to the football team but to the University of Tennessee," Nicely said. "We hope that one day they may choose that as their college to go to."
Anyone who wants to donate their tickets can go to the South Knoxville Elementary School Facebook page to reach out to organizers.