Owls visit school for Read Aloud Day
Sam Tapper – Sports Writer
In observance of World Read Aloud Day on Wednesday members of the Southern women’s basketball and soccer teams visited Worthington Hooker Elementary School.
Basketball seniors Aaliyah Walker, Imani Wheeler and Kiana Steinauer teamed up with freshman Abby Lucas, sophomore Amanda Dustin and coach Adam Cohen from the women’s soccer team to join the students in the classroom for a few hours and read to the children — some of which were books about sports.
“I was really excited, I work at a summer camp, so I enjoy interacting with little kids,” said Lucas with a smile. “Being able to interact with the kids again was going to be fun. They had a whole spread of sports books, so I chose the soccer book, obviously. They were all really engaged little kids.”
Like Lucas, the other athletes read sports books to the children. Cohen said he went with a different theme and said he chose to read “Franklin.”
“We were able to emphasize the value of diversity and being different,” Cohen said. “And the book that I was able to read to the kids showed that your differences can be strengths.”
In addition to reading, the athletes were also able to answer questions and talk with the classes they were in and received goodie-bags from the students as a thank you.
Steinauer also said that some outgoing second graders took pride in telling her teammate Wheeler, a point guard, how many “dribbles they could make in a row.”
Unfortunately, the Owls had to go in the late morning, prohibiting the entirety of both teams to attend due to their individual class schedules. However, the consensus among the athletes who did attend was the experience was something they thoroughly enjoyed.
“I enjoyed it, it was fun, the kids were really attentive,” Steinauer said. “All the kids were like, ‘We want to be just like you!’ so it was cool to see that you can impact their lives. They all seemed pretty excited to meet some soccer and basketball players.”
As luck would have it, World Read Aloud Day coincided with National Women In Sports Day, adding another incentive for sending two of Southern’s women’s teams.
Though that was not exactly how it was planned initially, it made the day come full circle for the freshman goalkeeper Lucas.
Lucas said when she was younger, she first became interested in Southern because of their women’s teams coming to her school in Milford, Conn. to read to them. Years later, Lucas was the one reading on that day as a Southern student- athlete.
“It’s fun and interesting for us because of that community outreach element,” said Cohen. “To see where Abby came from, and now she’s here and able to give back.”
Choosing the best part of the day will vary depending on who you ask, as quality time was spent all around. For Steinauer, she said her favorite part was listening to the kids’ desire to dress up like them.
“They were saying that it’s the hundredth day of school coming up,” she said. “So, they were like, ‘We’re going to dress up like you, but we’re going to have to be a little bit taller,’ and I was like, ‘You can do it!’ So, they were saying that they were going to dress up like us because they dress up for the hundredth day of school, so that was pretty cute.”
Steinauer and Lucas both said they love volunteering and that they would love to get out and go into the schools again. Moving forward, Cohen says his team will “100 percent” volunteer in the schools again, mentioning that his team will go to ACES School thanks to
an invite from a graduate who works there.
“Maeghan Howard, an alumnus, she teaches at ACES in North Haven,” said Cohen. “She saw that we were down at Worthington, so she invited us to come and read to her students, so it’ll be something we do again soon.”
Photo Credit: Izzy Manzo