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Champions are readers : Athletes encourage reading at BES

DAILY LEADER/ KATIE WILLIAMSON / Ken Boyd signs autographs for Brookhaven Elementary School teacher Samantha Rushing's third-grade class during the read like a champion event Friday.

DAILY LEADER/ KATIE WILLIAMSON / Ken Boyd signs autographs for Brookhaven Elementary School teacher Samantha Rushing’s third-grade class during the read like a champion event Friday.

Brookhaven High School cheerleaders and football players and Copiah-Lincoln Community College dancers visited classrooms in Brookhaven Elementary School for “Read Like a Champion Day” Friday. The athletes talked to elementary students, read stories and signed autographs. The event promoted reading throughout the school.

“I wanted people that the kids admire to read to them and show them how important reading is,” said event organizer Kelly Nance. “As we all know, a teacher can tell students how important reading is several times and it might not get through to them, but if it comes from someone like a cheerleader, dancer or football player, someone that they look up to, they are more likely to listen.”

DAILY LEADER / KATIE WILLIAMSON / Polly the Panther gets hugged by Brookhaven Elementary School teacher Samantha Rushing's third-grade class during the read like a champion event Friday.

DAILY LEADER / KATIE WILLIAMSON / Polly the Panther gets hugged by Brookhaven Elementary School teacher Samantha Rushing’s third-grade class during the read like a champion event Friday.

Nance began the process of planning the reading event a month ago by contacting BHS and Co-Lin to see if they would be interested in getting involved. She wanted to keep it a surprise for all the BES students.

“They were only told that some special guests were coming to see them,” said Nance. “The reaction of the students when the readers walked in was unforgettable.”

Every classroom got to meet a football player, a cheerleader and even got a visit from the panther mascot.

“They definitely went above and beyond with encouraging our students and showing them how important they are and how important reading is. I called today, “Read Like a Champion” because I wanted the kids to see how reading is something that everyone, even their “champions”, do,” said Nance.

Nance also commended the football players, cheerleaders and Colettes for their outstanding job encouraging the students.