Students in Lexi Smith’s fifth-grade class at Shepherd Elementary School were asked recently to write letters to their favorite colleges. Lexi didn’t necessarily expect to get a reply from the school that she wrote, but her mother, Leslie Hohlbein Smith ’03, knew she would.
Lexi sent a letter to Alma College. She said that her mother, who is now a teacher at Shepherd Middle School, played on the Scots’ softball team. Lexi said when she goes to college, she wants to play softball and basketball.
The Alma College Admissions and Athletics offices answered Lexi’s letter in a big way. They sent to her school a gift basket, filled with all kinds of Alma goodies, including a softball signed by members of the softball team and individual cards signed by members of the women’s basketball team. There was also an invitation from longtime Alma softball coach Denny Griffin for Lexi to be a bat girl at a home game.
“I honestly didn’t think she would take us up on it, but I’m so glad she did,” Griffin said. “When you put a smile on a kid’s face, everything is worth it, especially when you consider it’s such a simple gesture.”
Lexi served as a bat girl during the Scots’ home opener doubleheader against Manchester University, which were both 10-0 wins. Leslie Smith said the team rallied around Lexi before the game, talking to her and making her feel welcome. When Lexi got home from the game, her mother said, she kept talking about the team, long into the night.
“It was a really wonderful experience. I didn’t expect anything less from Alma College — they were great when I went there, and they are great today. I was really happy they were able to do that for her, and I hope we’re able to go to more games together as a family,” Leslie Smith said.
Time will tell if Lexi, 10, ends up taking the field at Scots Park as a softball player someday. For now, the family has a very happy memory of coming back to Alma College.