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Steve Ott visits Hillview Elementary School

Sydney Radecki, a third grader at Hillview Elementary School, assists Sabres Capt. Steve Ott as he reads the book ‘Justin and the Bully.’

BY: Lauren Kirchmyer | January 15, 2014

LANCASTER- Sydney Radecki is one lucky girl. While her Uncle Chris was at the Buffalo Sabres’ “Bowl-a-rama” tournament, he purchased a “Take a Player to School” gift, allowing Radecki to bring her favorite Sabres player to Hillview Elementary School.

Excitement filled Hillview’s halls Monday as students, faculty, and staff prepared for a special visit by Sabres Capt. Steve Ott. At 1:30 p.m., Radecki, who is a third grade student, was able to be Ott’s assistant as he read the book “Justin and the Bully” aloud to the room. The book shared the themes of anti-bullying, kindness, teamwork and good sportsmanship.

“Bullying is wrong,” Ott said to the students when the book came to an end. “Treat others like you want to be treated and never single out an individual.”

“It was really nice that this promoted our district’s bully-proof partnership, promoting good character, character education and those values,” explained Principal Amy Moeller. “I was looking around the room and you could see them hanging on his every word.”

One student from each class then had the opportunity to ask Ott a question about topics such as education, leadership, sportsmanship and hockey.

“The only way to get better is to practice and be consistent,” he said. “I’m living my dream and I am lucky and blessed to do that.”

Before the assembly came to an end, Ott presented Radecki with a hockey stick signed by the Buffalo Sabres.

“That was my favorite part,” said Radecki, who has been playing hockey for two years.

Following the assembly, Ott went back to Radecki’s classroom to sign autographs and take pictures with her classmates.

“I did everything to have the chance to meet an NHL hockey player back in the day,” Ott said. “To give the opportunity back is something special. You get an opportunity to meet people in the area and the community like this and you can see how so much of it affects you as you grow and get older.”

Ott hopes students learned to be a good person after his visit. “If one kid is touched by one thing I said then I did my job.”

Moeller thinks Ott’s visit is something the students will remember.

“If you have someone you’re looking up to, who motivates you, then you’ll remember that and you’ll take that with you. It really tied everything together into one little package with a nice Sabres bow on it.”

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