To help get elementary students excited about reading, Hoffman Estates High School students traveled to seven local elementary schools to put on assemblies to encouraging the younger students to read.
Joining the Hawk mascot, members of the high school girls and boys basketball teams, pompoms, cheerleaders and band traveled to the schools to tell elementary students a story about reading, and share information about their winter reading program. These assemblies took place on Dec. 20 and 21.
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The participating Schaumburg Township Elementary District 54 schools include: Anne Fox Elementary, Armstrong Elementary, MacArthur International Spanish Academy, Winston Churchill Elementary, Albert Einstein Elementary, Blackwell Elementary, and John Muir Literacy Academy.
"Our high school students are role models to these younger kids, and those kids know some of our athletes and cheerleaders," said Paul Moersch, a teacher at Conant and Hoffman Estates High Schools. "Our students absolutely loved it. They are excited to go to the schools. They get to see old teachers, and they can give back to the schools that they went to when they were younger."
During the assemblies, senior basketball players from the high school shot hoops with some of the elementary students. Pompoms performed a short dance routine, and cheerleaders performed stunts that correlated with the story they were telling. Moersch said each team brought one junior so they could be leaders next year.
Students who participate in the program are required to read a certain set of books, which is determined by their teacher. If they reach that goal by the second week of January, they are given a voucher to attend a Hoffman Estates High School varsity boys basketball game on Jan. 18. There, students will be recognized for their reading efforts at halftime, and will be eligible to participate in games and receive prizes.
Moersch, who is a former teacher in District 54, said the event was modeled after Conant High School's Booking with the Cougars program. He said he wanted to bring the program to the high school and carry on the event as he had seen it when he taught at the elementary level.
"It's important to have a sense of community between the high school and elementary levels," Moersch said. "It's a great way to give back."