Players read to elementary students

By Joyce Ervin

It was an exciting day at Symons Elementary School when Milan High School football players, dressed in their uniforms, visited and read to the students in their classrooms.
Their coach Jessie Hoskins said, “It’s fair to say the high school players get more out of the experience than the Symon students.”
The annual event found the players in different classrooms reading age-appropriate books and imparting life lessons and offering advice to the students and of course talking about football.
 Guard and defensive end, Justin Beck, a senior, visited Jessie Stafford’s third-grade room and captivated the children, while he read “Stellaluna” by Janella Cannon. 
Down the hall was found Nick Baugher, senior and linebacker, who hobbled down to Nicole VanSickle’s classroom on crutches to read “A Bad Case of the Stripes” by David Shannon, with a storyline that highlights identity, peer pressure and bullying.  On a lighter note, he then read “Halloween” by Jerry Steinfeld.
All of the players gathered in the library for a group picture after some lucky kids got to read one on one with the players.
Principal Kimberly Gillow, said she was grateful to have the older players reading as they serve as role models.  Also, she said, many of the staff and students have children or siblings in the building and it makes them proud and excited to have them visit.
Hoskins said first he was pleased to get the invitation from Ms. Gillow and second, “The players participate in a practical life-setting experience.”

Joyce Ervin is a freelance writer reporting on Milan. 

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