Strategic Educational Alliances and GCU Athletics

By Cole Bucholc
Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Strategic Educational Alliances  

GCU band section at a basketball game

As a 17-year-old, looking up from the field into the high-rising stands and bright lights of the Meadowlands (since replaced by Metlife Stadium), was a once-in-a-lifetime feeling. My high school football team had made it to the state championship game which was to be hosted at the home of my favorite NFL team – the New York Giants.

I don’t remember much about the game other than that we lost. I can’t tell you who we beat to get there, what the score was or even what school we were playing against. But I do remember the electric atmosphere and the feeling of playing the sport I loved on a stage that was far bigger than I ever imagined.

This is the same feeling that Grand Canyon University’s Strategic Educational Alliances (SEA) works to grant school bands and choirs throughout Arizona.

Over 20 public, private and charter schools from Arizona, ranging from the West Valley all the way to Flagstaff, were asked to showcase their band or choir’s talents by performing the national anthem at a GCU sporting event. Beginning in early September with the start of Lopes soccer and ending in late February with Lopes basketball, band and choir directors have traveled to GCU with their groups to give students an opportunity to perform in front of a large, electric crowd.

When the anthem performers show up, it is with the expectation that they will be performing in front of a crowd. GCU Stadium opened prior to the 2016 soccer season and hosted a game that broke the Arizona record for attendance at a collegiate soccer match. Similarly, GCU Arena is typically packed with sellout crowds for basketball games against division rivals.

Performing the anthem is just one way that SEA gets Arizona K-12 students involved in Lopes sports. In early November 2016, SEA brought over 2,000 students from throughout Arizona to the Learning STEM: Developing Character – Women’s Basketball Day. Here, students, teachers and chaperones watched the Lopes play and then stayed for a presentation on the science at play in the sport of basketball. Near the end of November, SEA invited their participants from throughout Arizona to a men’s basketball game to show their appreciation for the partnership.

While dates are not yet chosen for next year’s games, SEA is always interested in school choirs and bands that would like to perform at one of GCU’s sporting events. If you know a band or choir that may be interested, please contact with your inquiry.

Grand Canyon University is committed to providing students of all ages with opportunities to grow and succeed. To learn more, visit our website or contact us using the Request More Information button at the top of the page.

More About Cole:

With a background in content marketing, Cole Bucholc joined Strategic Educational Alliances at Grand Canyon University in 2015 to serve as the marketing and communications coordinator. Cole is also a member of the Arizona Schools Public Relations Association, representing GCU. Cole earned his undergrad degree in Linguistics from Rutgers University and is currently pursuing his MBA from GCU. He lives in Goodyear, AZ and enjoys playing music, dining out and attending sporting events throughout the valley.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.

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