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Bob Love Set As 2005 Field Trip Day Speaker

Grade School Field Trip Day signup form

Former Chicago Bull forward Bob Love, the team's all-time third-leading scorer, will be the featured speaker at the ninth annual Grade School Field Trip Day at the March Madness Experience. The event will be conducted in two sessions Wednesday, March 16, 2005, at the Peoria Civic Center. The event is co-sponsored by the Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) and the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) in conjunction with the Illinois Sheriffs' Association (ISA) and the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools (IARSS).

Girls and boys in grades five (5) through eight (8) in every grade, middle and junior high school in Illinois are eligible to participate in the Grade School Field Trip Day. The first session is scheduled from 9:00-11:30 a.m. The second session is set for 12:30-3:00 p.m. More than 5,000 students and chaperones have attended the event over the past several years. Admission for all who attend is free. Expenses of staging the event are the responsibility of IESA and IHSA.

Persons participating in the Grade School Field Trip Day listen to a number of speakers each session. The speakers talk to the students and their chaperones about productive lifestyles, who the positive role models should be in their lives, the role of officials in athletic contests, the importance and impact of good sportsmanship on and off the court or playing field and how to overcome bad influences in their lives.

Other speakers in this year's lineup are Clay County Sheriff Lee Ryker, president of the Illinois Sheriffs' Association, and Debi Neff, a veteran athletic official. Sheriff Ryker is the leadoff speaker and directs the students toward positive lifestyles and what grade/junior high school students should look for in the friends they make. Debi Neff is the second speaker of the day. A former basketball referee and a 20-year veteran volleyball official who is one of the IHSA rules interpreters in the sport, Debi Neff is the softball coach at East Peoria High School and the state final manager of the IHSA Girls State Softball Tournaments at EastSide Centre. Her talk with the students will be a how to work with the athletic officials as a player and to seriously consider becoming an athletic official in their favorite sport(s) when they become high school students.

Love will be the 14th different speaker to address the attendees. His life story is one of constantly overcoming obstacles.

In the years before Michael Jordan, the Chicago Bulls had a player who lit it up on a regular basis, averaging 21.3 points per game over a span of eight seasons and 592 NBA games. That player was 6-8 forward Bob Love, who came to the Chicago Bulls from Southern University, and who was a second team All-NBA selection in the 1970-71 and 71-72 seasons. He now talks to students and adults as a member of the Bulls Community Relations staff.

Bob Love led the Bulls in scoring for seven straight season from 1969-70 through 1975-76. He scored 12, 623 points and shot .816 from the free throw line, making 2,727 of 3,343 attempts. He ranks second in Bulls history for free throws made, behind only Michael Jordan.

More than 100 volunteer deputy sheriffs and volunteers from school regions throughout Illinois provide the manpower each year to operate the various venues of the March Madness Experience inside the Peoria Civic Center's 68,000 square foot Exhibit Hall. The speakers address the participants in the Civic Center's Carver Arena before they converge on the adjoining Exhibit Hall. In year past, members of high school varsity basketball teams have joined the students from their feeder school(s) to help reinforce the positive values of involvement in interscholastic athletics and activities, and to give on site assistance to the younger students.

More than 40,000 students have attended the annual Grade School Field Trip Day during its first eight years. Many schools make the Grade School Field Trip Day an annual event for their fifth-eighth graders. Parents and students interested in information regarding the 2005 Grade School Field Trip Day should contact their local grade, middle or junior high school administration.

Grade School Field Trip Day Speakers

  • Harvey Alston . Nationally knows motivational speaker
  • Jim Flannigan . Pro football defensive end
  • Paul Herzog . PA announcer for IHSA boys basketball; Bradley basketball
  • Bob Love . Third-leading all-time scorer in Chicago Bulls history
  • Debi Neff . Veteran IESA volleyball and basketball official, IHSA volleyball rules interpreter, East Peoria softball coach and IHSA State Final Softball Tournament manager
  • Wayne McClain . Coached Peoria (Manual) boys basketball to 3 Class AA state titles
  • Ogonna Nnamani . 2001 USA high school volleyball player of year; 2004 Collegiate volleyball co-player of the year, All-American on 2004 Stanford NCAA volleyball championship team
  • Jonelle Polk-McCloud . University of Illinois women.s basketball player, two-time All-Big Ten
  • Lee Ryker . Clay County sheriff
  • Mike Schlappi . Olympic Wheelchair Basketball Gold Medalist for USA
  • Eddie Slowikowski . IESA/IHSA Sportsmanship Summit Keynoter, Team USA Track Member
  • Bill Spriggs . 1998 IBCA Hall of Fame referee
  • Constance Stoetzer . 2000 Miss Illinois
  • Larry Wilcoxen . National Federation High School Hall of Fame official, worked 5 different sports
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