Harlem Globetrotter visits Burlington school in preview of Nov. 1 event in Schar Center

Harlem Globetrotter Orlando "El Gato" Melendez, who played basketball at the University of North Carolina and Chapel Hill, visited Hillcrest Elementary School to talk with students about bullying and to show off his skills. 

A basketball spinning atop his finger, Orlando “El Gato” Melendez stepped from behind the curtains inside Hillcrest Elementary School’s gym on Monday to the cheers and applause of dozens of students. 

Orlando “El Gato” Melendez speaking to students at Hillcrest Elementary School in Burlington
Melendez was there to offer a preview of what fans can expect when he and his Harlem Globetrotter teammates return on Nov. 1 for a performance at Schar Center, a signature event to help celebrate the opening of the new convocation center this year. Along with his basketball skills, Melendez also brought some valuable tips for how these elementary school students can recognize and prevent bullying, a signature program from the basketball superstars as they visit communities around the world. 

​”If you see someone being bullied, the most important thing is for you to stand up and say something to an adult,” Melendez told the third-, fourth- and fifth-graders gathered before him on Monday. “You have to help people stop bullying so sadness doesn’t spread around school.”

​Much in the same way the Globetrotters will entertain and involve their audience on Nov. 1, Melendez brought the students into his presentation, teaching them a few basketball tricks and generating applause and laughter in the process. He even involved Elon men’s basketball standout Tyler Seibring, who with his teammates will take on Melendez’s alma mater, UNC, for the squad’s first home game in Schar Center on Nov. 9. 

Monday’s visit by Melendez is just another product of the strong partnership that Elon has with the Alamance-Burlington School System, which hosts Elon student-teachers and student volunteers. Elon students, faculty and staff are regularly involved with ABSS students through programs such as the “It Takes a Village” project and Elon Academy. In honor of last week’s inauguration of President Connie Ledoux Book, donors made nearly 1,000 gifts to Elon, with the university donating a book to ABSS for each gift given to the university. 

Interested in seeing Melendez and the rest of the Harlem Globetrotters when they come to Elon on Nov. 1? Tickets are now on sale at elonphoenix.com/Globetrotters, the Elon Ticket Office box office located inside Schar Center, or by phone at (336) 278-6750. Visit harlemglobetrotters.com for more information.