Florida A & M athletes, coaches, cheerleaders and the Marching 100 attended the final day of J. Michael Conley Elementary School’s Literacy Week to talk about the importance of reading.
The group paid a surprise visit to the school on Friday to read, talk and have a mini-parade with the children. Some of the students even wanted autographs from the Rattler stars.
Lamere Buchanan, a sophomore cross-country and track and field athlete from Glassboro, N.J., told The FAMUAN he enjoyed being a mentor for the day. “It felt like we were their role models,” Buchanan said. “It was fun to see how happy it made them just to see us.”
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Stephanie Colter, a freshman track athlete from Phoenix, AZ., figured the experience would be one of enlightenment for the audience.
“I just had a conversation with them to just learn about their life. The biggest thing with reading for kids is helping them figure out how this pertains to their life,” Colter said.
The athletes embraced the opportunity to help guide the younger generation learn the value of reading.
“Your greatest motivation can be those right above you,” Colter said. “Instead of hearing it from just teachers, but hearing from students to help the message hit home.”
The day was filled with laughter and fun for all the athletes, each one with a memory from the day that stood out more than others.
“Me and a fellow track teammate, Jasmine Pleasant, got to sit down and read the kids a book page by page and that was awesome,” Buchanan said.
“I think it was great to see the look in their eyes. Especially when they saw the football players,” Colter added.
The list of athletes in attendance was a mix of some of the more productive members of the teams. Kevin Elliott, Kendrick Washington, Antonio Lawrence, and Anthony Shutt were there from the football team.
Buchanan, Colter, and Pleasant were there to represent the track programs.
Cheerleaders, and cheermasters alike, were also a part of the festivities. The marching 100 also participated, providing two miniature parades around the campus. The band was followed by a multitude of costumed grade schoolers.
Throughout the glamour of being stars for the day, the value of teaching kids the importance of reading prompted motivation for future ventures much like this.
“I would love to do it again ASAP. This way we can tell them early about the advantages of doing well in school and furthering their education,” Buchanan said.