Lehigh student-athletes take part in Reading Rocks kickoff event
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Last Wednesday, a group of 50 Lehigh student-athletes led a pep rally at Donegan Elementary School in Bethlehem to kick off the annual Reading Rocks program. Run through C.O.A.C.H. (Community Outreach by Athletes who Care about Helping), Reading Rocks encourages youngsters to read through weekly student-athlete visits.
Reading Rocks Kick-Off Event
“I’ve been attending this event the past couple of years and I still get excited every Wednesday,” said senior Jennifer Colquhoun of the softball team. “No matter what kind of day it’s been, Reading Rocks always makes it better. Week-to-week, you get to see the improvements the children make and you realize how much brighter their lives have become just by spending one hour a week helping.”
She continued: “Like John Wooden once said, ‘You haven't lived a perfect day until you have done something for someone who can't repay you.’ That quote applies to every single Reading Rocks event.”
Last week’s pep rally served as a chance for the youngsters to get excited about reading, and the year’s activities to come.
“The kickoff was a blast,” said senior Lizzy Silverstein of volleyball. “There were tons of student-athletes who showed up for the kids and I think that made all the difference in the world. Our excitement about the program is contagious to the kids.”
Numerous Mountain Hawks meet weekly with the Donegan students. Since the program began, the school’s PSSA scores have increased greatly.
“The kickoff event is tons of fun,” said Colquhoun. “I always have butterflies just before we enter the auditorium, running through and giving high fives. It always turns into a huge smile. It's almost surreal standing at the front of an auditorium full of kids, next to your fellow athletes and having their undivided attention. It's great to see kids excited about learning and knowing that this attitude will take them to great places.”
“What Reading Rocks means to me is giving back the gift of learning to our surrounding community,” said Silverstein. “It is important to excite these kids about education; it’s a key to success in the future. I love seeing all of their faces light up when we read them stories.”
Photos courtesy of Betsy Toole/St. Luke's Hospital. Lehigh Athletics and St. Luke's are proud to partner in the Reading Rocks program.