Westfield High School basketball guard Michael Pipkin, center, reads aloud to students at Hoyland Elementary during the school’s celebration of Read Across America Day.
HOUSTON – March 2, 2018 – Teachers at Hoyland Elementary received a literacy assist from Westfield High School’s basketball team as the school celebrated Read Across America Day today. About a dozen Westfield juniors and seniors arrived at the campus, wearing their team jerseys, ready to read to Hoyland’s students.
Point guard Justin Jackson and forward Dominic Gibson stopped in a classroom and read from the book, “She Persisted,” a compilation of stories about 13 women who overcame adversity to help shape American History.
Jackson and Gibson read aloud about Harriet Tubman who made the underground railroad a passageway to freedom in the days of slavery. They answered questions about Tubman’s achievements and concluded their visit by signing their autographs for some excited fourth graders.
The two teammates used Tubman’s story to encourage the children and interacted with them about what they wanted to do when they grew up.
“We all have dreams. Adults, little kids or teenagers – we all have aspirations and dreams. We just wanted to see where their minds were at and see what they wanted to be,” said Jackson, who plans to attend Texas A&M Kingsville and major in education.
The team members were paired up and escorted throughout the grade levels as they read aloud in the classrooms. Westfield Head Basketball Coach Billy Goffney joined in with his players as he read to the students and encouraged them to learn from the examples of the stories and never give up.
Goffney said his team was happy that they could help build a connection between the two schools. “Our kids get to feel like they are instructors and they have enjoyed it. I could tell by their faces. Their smiles tell me they are enjoying themselves,” said Goffney.
Principal Cynthia Gomez said she was thrilled that her students could see the older students showcasing their literacy skills as they read aloud.
“I think anytime we have an opportunity where these children can see our older students come into our school and be excited about literacy, we have to take advantage of it. These high school students are great mentors, and the children can really relate to them,” said Gomez.
Read Across America is an annual reading motivation-and-awareness program from the National Education Association that calls for every child to celebrate reading on March 2, which is also the birthday of the well-known children’s author, Dr. Seuss.