Pittsburgh Pirates ‘Adopt’ Ritchie Elementary School in Ohio County

Photo Provided Students at Ritchie Elementary School in Wheeling enjoy a visit by the Pittsburgh Pirates Charities “Care-A-Van” Wednesday.

WHEELING — Pittsburgh Pirates players, staff and “pierogies” played games and provided Ritchie Elementary School students with school supplies Wednesday during a stop in Wheeling.

The Pirates Charities “Care-A-Van” visited Ritchie Elementary for an “adopt-a-school” assembly. Pirates pitchers Felipe Rivero, Steven Brault, Clay Holmes and Edgar Santana were joined by coaches Heberto Andrade and Euclides Rojas for the event.

The group brought along school supplies, as well as activity workbooks and specially made Pirates Charities winter hats for all 300 students at Ritchie Elementary.

Principal John Jorden said Pirates personnel contacted him during the week of Thanksgiving with a request to visit Ritchie.

“We said yes, and what an amazing day it was for us,” Jorden said. “It was incredible. I’ve been a Pirate fan all my life. For the kids, it was a dream come true. They will remember this forever.”

The Pirates brought with them a disc jockey to provide music, and the players participated in a question-and-answer session with the students.

Next, students were selected and teamed up with each of the players and coaches for a series of “minute to win it” games. The “mummy wrap” game involved students being wrapped in toilet paper by their Pirate teammate, while other similar games involved props such as streamers, cookies, plastic cups, sticky notes and tissue boxes.

All participating students were presented with a Pirates blanket as a gift, while the winner of each game received a backpack full of Pirates merchandise.

“They loved it. They absolutely loved it,” Jordan said of the students’ reaction to the Pirates’ visit. “One young man told me it was the best day of the school year so far. I want to thank the Pirate organization for coming to the school, and especially for donating school supplies for students. It was a day the children will remember forever.”

The CARE-a-van features three separate groups of players and coaches traveling throughout the region. Today, the groups will make stops in Youngstown, Ohio, Butler, Pa. and Erie, Pa. before participating in several stops in Pittsburgh on Friday.