There may be more Woodland Elementary School students keeping an eye on the mound for the Cleveland Indians after having a Google Meet with one of its pitchers. Teacher Lisa Wittgren wanted her fourth grade class to have an opportunity to meet her son, Nick Wittgren.
“Education is not just about getting through a curriculum,” says Mrs. Wittgren. “It is important for educators to provide students with experiences that they may not have otherwise.”
Student Jai’Qui Sturgis enjoyed stories about Nick growing up in Lafayette: “He was always going outside to play, and not playing video games in the house all the time, even if it was to just hit rocks with a Wiffle bat.”
Nick Wittgren attended school at Southwestern Middle School, Wea Ridge Middle School and McCutcheon High School. He shared how he developed a faster throw while playing for Parkland College and later Purdue University. He was drafted by the Miami Marlins in 2012 and seven years later joined the bullpen for the Cleveland Indians.
The virtual visit from spring training in Arizona helped students see how education is vital to every career. “If he didn’t keep going to school, he would never have made it to where he is right now,” says Xavier Wright. “School was the place that people came to look and they saw potential.”
The students quizzed Nick about his favorite teams, first MLB strike out, injuries and the speed of his fastball.
“My fastest pitch in the big leagues is 96 miles an hour,” Wittgren said.
“It was pretty awesome,” says Franscico Nunez. “It was nice to have a conversation and actually talk to him, instead of watching a video.”
Mrs. Wittgren hopes the students took away something from their Google Meet with Nick: “It is important to play outside and be active. It doesn’t matter where you come from or what the circumstances are, you can work to accomplish a goal or dream.”