WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- World Series champion and former George Washington Elementary School student Joe Panik made a surprise visit to students and staff at the school in Cortlandt on Wednesday, Dec. 3.
Before he was the second baseman for the San Francisco Giants dazzling everyone with his play in the field and at bat, he attended the school in the Lakeland School District through the fourth-grade and played for the Shrub Oak Athletic Club.
In addition to addressing students in an assembly on Wednesday, Dec. 3, Panik talked with students and staff and presented Principal Tracy Norman with an autographed photo for the school. He spent almost two-hours at the school, answering questions from students at each grade level, signing a couple of autographs and reminiscing with the teachers he had when he was a student at the school. He urged students to always work hard and to never give up on their dreams.
"Whatever you want to be in life whether it is a scientist, a teacher, a doctor or a pro ball player, just always believe in yourself and always work hard," Panic told the assembled students.
One of his former teachers, Siobhan O'Brien, presented him with a copy of the "ABC" poem written by Panik in the second-grade. For the letter "Y," Panik wrote that the "Yankees are the best baseball team."
During the baseball playoffs, teachers at George Washington made a video for Panik, which can be seen at http://goo.gl/uvd8bz , wishing him success in the World Series match-up against the Kansas City Royals, which the Giants won in October.
The video was made by teacher Kathy Mills-Hastings, a George Washington teacher who moved to New York from San Francisco 13 years ago.
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