(RAPID CITY, SD) – The Rapid City Rush, proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes, concluded the organization’s “Rush to Read” program, reading to students and children of local Rapid City-area schools.
Players have been highlighting the importance of reading and educational success, doing so by reading to children about their favorite superheroes as the team gears up for its “Superhero Night” on March 11th.
“It’s very important for our students to see athletes demonstrate an importance of reading. We as educators stress the importance of reading as a lifelong skill, and then to see people that they get to watch on the ice come in and share their passion for reading really enlightens our students,” said Greg McNabb, Principal of Corral Drive Elementary School. “Our relationship with the Rush has been fantastic since the inaugural season. A 3rd grade student from our school won the ‘Name the Mascot’ contest when the team first came to town, and from there it has built into a great relationship where the players graciously take time out of their days to speak to and interact with our students.”
Laura Scott, a 4th Grade teacher at Grandview Elementary School stated that “Many children in my class go to the Rush games, and have always wanted to meet the players. Getting the opportunity to put a face to a name in an educational setting is a great way to create that bond. Seeing what we teach come from someone as celebrity-like as the Rush players in our community helps us out so much and makes a major difference.”
Also from Grandview Elementary, Kindergarten teacher Annie Andrews echoed the same sentiment: “As an educator, I loved it. To see my children enthralled and hanging on everything that our player said to them was incredible to see. He took the time to get to know each one of my student’s names and helped create an experience they’ll remember for a long time.” When asked about the impact of the educational encounter, Andrews continued: “I think in a scenario like this, it’s not only important that public figures participate in this, but especially male role models. We don’t have male Kindergarten teachers here, so to see a male role model in the community preach what we do in the classroom is phenomenal.”
“What the Rush do for our community is remarkable. To watch the excitement in our children when the players take time to interact is great because they get to see what these players are like off the ice. Instead of seeing them for goals, fights, or big hits and saves, they see them as people,” said Dr. Lisa Hafer, Principal of Pinedale Elementary School. “It is so important that the players help accentuate what we as teachers are trying to instill in our students. The children are at an impressionable enough age that they’re possibly considering pursuing sports as a career, and here come professional athletes that can speak from experience and stress how important and meaningful their education was along the way. It bolsters what we as educators do to best prepare our students for life.”
“What I noticed immediately was the attention paid to the students. The players were so positive, down-to-earth, and friendly with our children, and they responded well to their guests,” said Mike Donohoe, Principal of Meadowbrook Elementary School. “The most important aspect about this encounter though was the time: the Rush players took time with our children. They didn’t just read and leave, they spent quality time with our students and allowed them to ask questions about what education meant to them, hard work, and other life skills. While the intent was education and reading, it went to a whole other level because at the end of the day, the players took time, and as an educator and their Principal, I’m very grateful for that.”
“It was such a wonderful day when the Rush players came to read to our children. They were so excited to ask questions and hear the players’ message and stories,” Kristi Harris explained, a K-5 Instructional Support Teacher at Robbinsdale Elementary. “I know many students are Season Ticket Holders or go to games often, but I’m sure there are many students that don’t get the opportunity to watch this team, so for them I’m sure this was a very beneficial experience. What stood out as most important to me was the players stressed that reading happens all the time. They explained that it doesn’t just happen in the classroom, but also in adulthood as well, citing the example that when they’re on their road trips they bring books and magazines while they’re traveling. To hear that from adults, especially pro athletes, is sure to leave a great impression on our students.”
We would like to thank all of the schools in our community of Rapid City that participated in the “Rush to Read” Program. You have made this such a successful and enjoyable experience not only for your children and schools, but for our players that participated!
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