At Arovista Elementary in Brea, each week starts off with a “Monday Message”, a concept that the students and staff can focus on for that week that helps not only with learning but also with building character.
This week’s “Monday Message” for the Arovista Allstars was about gratitude, and the kids had the perfect opportunity to show their gratitude this week as their school was selected for the seventh annual Ducks S.C.O.R.E. Reading is the Goal Day.
Over 20 Ducks Power Players and staff members visited the classrooms on the Pre-K through 6th grade campus to read to the kids, answer questions and show how important reading and literacy is for all ages and career paths.
“Having the Ducks organization come into the classroom and read to the kids shows them that reading continues throughout their lives,” said early elementary teacher, Mrs. Worthington. “It teaches them that reading a big part of lifelong learning.”
And what’s an Anaheim Ducks event without a little hockey, right? So during lunch recess, the kids had the opportunity to play some street hockey out on the playground. For some of these kids, it was the first time they’d picked up a stick. And from the way they clamored for their turn on the blacktop, it was evident that this was unique experience for them.
After lunch, the 4th, 5th and 6th graders gathered in the school’s multi-purpose room for an assembly hosted by Ducks television host Kent French that featured Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin and forward Nick Bonino reading Brady Brady and the Twirlin’ Torpedo to the more than 250 kids.
The title is from a set of children’s books by Mary Shaw that follows the hockey-playing adventures of Brady and his team, the Icehogs.
In this story, Brady’s friend Tes joins the team, but not without some teasing from opponents who don’t think a girl should be out on the ice playing hockey. Brady and the rest of her teammates came to her defense, proving that no matter who you are, you should be able to pursue what you love.
After reading, Beauchemin and Bonino took some questions from the kids and spoke to everything from their love for hockey at a young age, to what it feels like to be slammed into the boards, to the influence their family, especially their fathers, have had on their careers.
Arovista Principal Karen VanDine could not have been more grateful for the Ducks, their time at the school and their support of literacy.
“For the kids to see these athletes come out and read to them shows how much the Ducks support literacy and reading,” said VanDine. “The message to the students is just huge.”
As a participating school in the Ducks S.C.O.R.E Program since its inception in 2005, 4th grade teacher Tammi O’Rourke knows how much the 30-day Reading is the Goal incentive program motivates the kids.
“We are kicking off the [Reading is the Goal] program here next week, and I know that after seeing the Ducks here today, the kids will be motivated,” said O’Rourke.
And as for the players who came to the school after morning practice, they were pleased to be able to help spread the word about literacy.
“I started devouring books at a young age,” said Bonino, who is an avid reader and reads at least two books a week. “I’ll read everything; fiction, non-fiction, science fiction, whatever sounds interesting. I have my Nook that I keep in my suit pocket when we’re on the road. I’ve read for so long, I love it.”
“I think it’s a great event for us to come here and show that reading is important,” said Beauchemin, who says he’s often reading to his own kids. “Maybe some of them see us play on television, but for them to see hockey players here reading to them, hopefully they will see how important it is.”
As the day came to a close, the Ducks presented Arovista Elementary with a full set of street hockey equipment, a basket of hockey-themed books for the school’s library and a framed jersey signed by the team.
So the Arovista Allstars came away that day with not only an appreciation for the Ducks and for how reading and literacy can open doors for their future, but also with the opportunity to live out their “Monday Message” of gratitude.
“We’ve been so excited to have the Ducks here today. They’ve been so generous and this event aligns perfectly with our ‘Monday Message’ to the student about gratitude,” said VanDine. “What a wonderful example to set for the kids when it comes to literacy.”
For more information on Reading is the Goal and the Anaheim Ducks S.C.O.R.E. Program, visit ducksscore.com