Women’s Soccer, Coach Duncan Bailed Out at Pagels School

Charger Athletics

WEST HAVEN, Conn. – The University of New Haven women’s soccer program recently took part in the ‘Jail n Bail’ event at the Alma E. Pagels Elementary School last Saturday, just one of many events that the Chargers have enjoyed with the youngsters of West Haven, Conn. Beginning in the fall of 2010, the team has worked in conjunction with the school, serving as mentors and role models for the students.

Most recently, the Chargers participated in the school’s ‘Jail n Bail’ event in hopes to help raise money for a future investment. The proceeds of the event aided the construction of a universal accessible playground for West Haven children of all abilities to enjoy. The fundraiser was held on Saturday, March 26 and raised over $10,000.

During the ‘Jail n Bail’ event, students placed a warrant for teachers, coaches, administrators and staff to be arrested for a non-criminal act. The ‘arrestees’ would turn themselves in and be placed in jail, where a photograph or ‘mug shot’ would be taken in front of a western jail cell door. Head coach Laura Duncan was selected by the Pagels Elementary School students and arrested for the afternoon.

Once arraigned, the arrestee would go before one of the guest judges: Superintendent Neil Cavallaro, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Druzolowski, News8 Personality Sara Welch and Pagels School Psychologist Alison McBride. The judges set bails according to their non-criminal acts such as a “bad hair day” or in Coach Duncan’s case, “too many bear crawls.” The arrestee then needed to figure out a way to raise enough money to be released from jail.

Fortunately for Duncan, the UNH women’s soccer team was generous enough to submit the bail amount of $200 to release their head coach. While Coach Duncan was behind bars, the team interacted with the students, completing various arts and crafts with the students.

The program began back in the fall, when the Chargers assisted two events at Pagels Elementary School: National Reading Day and Fall Sports Day. On National Reading Day, an annual event that celebrates and encourages reading for younger children, the team went over to the school and read to students throughout the day.

The next gathering, Fall Sports Day, the team hosted an event that consisted of various leisure activities for the students. The event lasted about four hours and students engaged in activities including: the bean bag toss, hula hoop and other outdoor games.

With the success of the two events in the fall, the women’s soccer team extended the partnership into the spring season as well. Two members of the women’s soccer team go to the school every day as part of a mentoring program. Student-athletes play with the children during recess and lunch time, before assisting them in the classroom afterwards. The student-athletes often help the youngsters with reading, projects or other assignments.

Coach Duncan remarks, “Our mentoring program at Pagel’s is one of the most important events our team takes part in throughout the year. It is a great way to give back to our local community, and the Pagels students look up to our athletes. Our players talk to them about the importance of doing well in school and staying active. I’m not even too sure who gets the most joy out of it…The fifth graders or my players!”