Vandy Student Athletes Host Holiday Party

On Wednesday morning, Vanderbilt student-athletes hosted the annual Holiday Party for first grade students from Nashville Public Schools. VandyMania's Whitney D was there and shares these photos from the event.

The Vanderbilt academic calendar provides "Reading Day," one day of rest between the last day of classes and the beginning of final exams. This year, Tuesday was the last day of class, and final exams begin on Thursday.

One of the traditions in student athletics at Vanderbilt is the annual Holiday Party, held every year on Reading Day. It's a very busy time of year, even busier for student-athletes than for most college students.

Besides finishing up the semester and studying for exams, the women's basketball team was just finishing a hard practice immediately before the party, and the men's basketball team was anticipating Wednesday night's game against Alabama A&M. And for the first time in more than 20 years, it's still football season as the team prepares for the Music City Bowl on December 31.

But all that was put aside on Wednesday morning, as student-athletes from all of Vanderbilt's sports team welcomed the first graders into the practice gym at Memorial for a little holiday cheer.


The student athletes, the visiting children, and the presents are all ready, awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus.

The jolly old elf, who bears an amazing resemblance to Adam Smotherman, first reads The Night Before Christmas to the children.

Mr. Commodore and the Chief Elf, who looks so much like T.J. Greenstone that even his mother might not be able to tell the difference, add some dramatization to the story.

After the story, it's time for Santa to pass out the presents, which were purchased and wrapped by his helpers at Vanderbilt. All of the student-athletes contribute their own money to the gift fund. The money is then divided up equally for gifts for all the children who will attend. Each team is given the responsibility of shopping for gifts for certain children and wrapping them to make Santa's job a little easier.

Santa passes out the bags of gift to one child at a time, and then the fun begins - first unwrapping the presents, then playing with them.

Megan Gibson (Lacrosse)

Chanel Chisholm (Women's Basketball)

Ellen Morrison (Bowling)

Football players Jared Hawkins and Jamie Graham watch while MacKenzi Adams plays with one of the radio-controlled cars that some of the children received as gifts.

What's a party without food? D.J. Moore (Football) enjoys a slice of pizza and a carton of milk.

Jen Risper (Women's Basketball)

Merideth Marsh (Women's Basketball)

Santa shares his secrets!

Festus Ezeli (Men's Basketball)

Tina Wirth, Hannah Tuomi, Jen Risper, Jessica Mooney, Lauren Lueders (Women's Basketball)

Chanel Chisholm (Women's Basketball)

Merideth Marsh (Women's Basketball)

Santa lifts more than spirits!

Jordan Coleman and Tia Gibbs (Women's Basketball)

Party's over, time to go back to school.

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Photos copyright 2008 by Whitney D for

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