April 19, 2010
KINGSTON, R.I. - Over the past three weeks, several University of Rhode Island student-athletes took time out of their busy schedules to visit local elementary and middle schools around South County as part of the 2010 Reading Week. This annual event is sponsored by the Rhode Island State Council of the International Reading Association and Rhode Island Educational Media Association (RIEMA).
"This event is something many of our coaches and student-athletes look forward to every spring," said marketing coordinator Jaclyn Muns. "It's always rewarding to give back to the community and to the youth of South County after the continuous support they show to our teams and our Athletic Department. Each year it is a memorable experience for everyone involved."
Despite several cancellations due to the flooding and poor weather in Rhode Island for the first few days of scheduled reading, nearly 60 student-athletes and coaches participated in this years' event. Participating teams included: baseball, football, softball, men's basketball, women's basketball, men's soccer, women's soccer, volleyball, rowing, golf, women's track & field and cheerleading.
"My experience with Reading Week was very rewarding because we were able to reach out to the same kids who come and support us throughout our season," said Megan Shoniker, junior captain of the women's basketball team. "My favorite part was answering their questions because I remember being that age, and thinking those same things. They look up to us as if we are famous movie stars."
Starting March 30th and ending this past Friday, student-athletes and coaches traveled around South County and spent time in classrooms ranging from kindergarten through sixth grade. In addition to reading grade-appropriate books to the kids, the student-athletes took time to sign autographs, answer questions and taking photographs with the children.
"Reading to the students at the Narragansett Pier Middle School was a great experience for me personally. It was really gratifying just seeing the smiles and excitement on the kids faces," said junior Tom Coulombe of the baseball team.
The schools that were visited this year included Quidnessett Elementary School, Richmond Elementary, Narragansett Pier Middle School, Wakefield Elementary, Davisville Elementary, West Kingston Elementary, Hamilton Elementary, Forest Park Elementary, Broad Rock Middle School, Kingston Hill Academy, Stony Lane Elementary and the URI Child Development Center.