Athletes opt for kiddie backpacks

Call it the Stepheson effect.

A year after larger-than-life Alex Stepheson ’06 graduated and took his trademark Batman backpack with him to University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, many upper school students have sported child themed (and sized) backpacks around campus. 

Stepheson’s former basketball teammate, Renaldo Woolridge ’08 bought his $20 Spongebob Squarepants backpack before school started with basketball star Stepheson in mind. 

“It was cool to see him with his backpack last year,” Woolridge said. “We have the same personality.  We’re both big, but the backpack shows we’re young at heart.”   

Woolridge’s teachers think it’s funny that such a tall person has such a small backpack. 

But Woolridge admits that the backpack can be pretty deceiving. It’s roomier than it looks. Woolridge is just able to fit all of his books. 

Colin Turner ’08, on the other hand, won’t reveal his secret for being able to fit all of his belongings in his tiny Spiderman backpack.  When pressed for an answer, Turner replied simply that, “It’s magic.”
Turner bought his backpack for $10.  It’s his third backpack this year, after his earlier Spiderman and Superman backpacks both ripped. Turner doesn’t like to think that he’s copying Stepheson, but admits that he wouldn’t have bought it if it hadn’t been for him. 

Shannon Hart ’07 got her Little Mermaid backpack during spring break for $12.  Hart said that she got the idea to buy it from other students.

“I didn’t bring books to class anymore, and the backpack is just fun,” Hart said. 

Another former teammate of Stepheson’s, James Dunleavy ’07, bought his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles backpack at Aahs! for $20 a week before school. 

Dunleavy thinks that most students bought the backpacks for the attention, but he did it because he had an easy schedule. 

When Stepheson returned to campus earlier this month, he saw Woolridge with his backpack and said that he liked it, commenting that “Spongebob is sweet.” 

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