On The Run Reading Tour Comes to an End


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Photo by Mary Chestang

As spring break approaches, Miss Florida A&M University, Dominique James, a fourth-year public relations student from Orlando, Fla., and her royal court attendants ended the “On the Run Reading Tour” Friday at FAMU’s New Beginnings Educational Research Center for Child Development.

The royal court visited three other schools around the Tallahassee area including FAMU Developmental Research School, Imagine Charter and Governors Charter. They went to over 35 classrooms to read and volunteer with the students in attempt to make reading more interactive and fun.

Tallahassee native, interim director of New Beginnings and former Queen of Orange and Green at FAMU,  Kenedria Thurman, thought James was very interactive with the children.

“Her story (James) involved movement. She was very engaged. She even had a couple of children she needed to pull to the front and kind of hang out with a little bit,” said Thurman, “which is very appropriate for this age group in trying to keep them entertained and engaged in the reading process.”

James was proud to fulfill another one of her platform points as Miss FAMU. However, the platform required a substantial amount of commitment. James and her court thrived in the children’s joy.

“I have to say this was one of my favorite platform points! As soon as we walk into the room they’re like, ‘Oh my God! Its Queen Elizabeth! It’s queen of the world! She’s queen of the universe!” said James. “To leave and hear the kids– they think we can’t hear them– tell their teacher, ‘Oh my goodness I met a queen today. I can’t wait to tell my mommy…’ its just so good to see the sparkle in their eyes. This week was amazing. I’m tired, but it was amazing.”

The last two books read at the school were “Queen Like Me” by Kim Brown and “Mr. Brown can Moo, can you” by Dr. Seuss.

James ended the series with “Queen Like Me,” because Brown and Thurman are friends and to talk about her upcoming event “Queen Like Me” on Tuesday, March 24.

Although the program was a part of  James’ platform points, she had the help from her attendants to get the job done.

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Photo by Mary Chestang

“Things stick with children and we don’t know exactly what sticks with them so every little thing counts,” said Aria Reeves. “When I was younger, reading stuck with me. People read to me and I love reading now so I really do believe that it will make a difference.” Reeves is a third-year business administration student from Atlanta, Ga. and serves as the current  junior attendant.

Aaliyah Barrington-Johnson, a second-year computer information student from Tallahassee, Fla., currently serves as the sophomore attendant on the FAMU royal court. Barrington-Johnson enjoyed reading and volunteering with the kids.

“It’s really cool to see how kids react to queens, crowns and sashes. It’s crazy to see how they respond when we come into their classrooms,” said Barrington-Johnson. “Overall I really enjoyed it … this has affected the students a lot. I don’t think a court has ever done as much reading as we have … to have someone come from college and read is really impactful…”

Though the program has ended, all of the young women involved in the project looks forward to doing more reading for the youth here in the Tallahassee community.