The students of Sacramento County Teacher of the Year 2002 Sheryl Sorensen received a visit on January 29 from Sacramento Kings player Predrag "Peja" Stojakovic. The visit, arranged as part of the Kings Teacher Appreciation Program, took place in Sorensen's second-grade classroom at Jefferson Elementary School in the Natomas Unified School District.
As parents and faculty looked on, Stojakovic spoke to the children about the importance of education and what it was like growing up in Yugoslavia and Greece. He showed those countries on the map and answered students' questions about his travels, his basketball career and his interests.
Peja taught the children some words in Greek and Yugoslavian...and Sorensen and the students taught Peja to do the Chicken Dance.
The students gifted Peja with a specially designed basketball jersey, which featured a "name poem" describing the 6'9" Kings forward:
- Jump Shots
- On the Ball
Sorensen, who is one of two educators selected as Sacramento County Teachers of the Year 2002, was presented with a check for $500 (courtesy of Kings Teacher Appreciation program sponsor NECA) and a basketball signed by Stojakovic. Jefferson Elementary School Principal Gary Hexom joined Stojakovic in congratulating Sorensen. Sorensen was honored with all local Teachers of the Year during a halftime ceremony on February 19 (when the Kings met the Atlanta Hawks at ARCO Arena).
Before heading back to ARCO Arena for morning Kings practice, Stojakovic autographed keepsake posters for the delighted students. Stojakovic was selected as a reserve player for the NBA 2002 All-Star Game which took place in Philadelphia on February 10.
For more than 14 years, the Sacramento Kings have supported the annual Sacramento County Teachers of the Year Program. This year, both Sacramento County Teachers of the Year 2002 are receiving classroom visits from Stojakovic.