PDT Staff Writer
Northwest Elementary concluded their annual reading week program on Thursday with an assembly featuring former Major League Baseball player Al Oliver.
“As a celebration of our annual reading week program, we had Mr. Al Oliver, who is a retired professional baseball player, come a speak to our students,” said Lori Cunningham, Northwest Elementary physical education teacher. “He spoke to the students about setting high goals, working hard in school and working to make the world a better place.”
She said the assembly was attended by 1,000 people including students, staff and community members.
“The kids loved it, we had an excellent power point presentation highlighting his life through his career to what he’s doing now with the Al Oliver Foundation,” Cunningham said.
She said Oliver is a knowledgeable person and was able to speak to the kids on their level.
“I have spoken at schools since I was 20-years-old and this was the best production that I’ve been involved in. It was obvious they put in a lot of work to make it a successful day,” Oliver said.
Cunningham said reading week was filled with activities designed to motivate students to read.
On Monday the kids were able to wear hats to school. Tuesday was read a t-shirt day and Wednesday was crazy socks and pajamas day, Thursday was all star day, the students were asked to there their favorite team paraphernalia.
“Since our reading week theme was all star readers, we could not think of a better all star in the Portsmouth area than Al Oliver,” Cunningham said.
She said the Thursday assembly was the biggest event of the week.
Cunningham said other events throughout the week included, an assembly with David Piles, a retired professional football player with the Oakland Raiders of Wheelersburg.
“He (Piles) kicked off reading week last Thursday. We had our high school football team and cheerleaders come and get the kids fired-up about reading,”
She said during the Thursday assembly the school honored 10 of its students who accumulated the most points in the schools accelerated reader program. Oliver autographed 10 baseballs that were presented to the kids.
Throughout reading week the school has hosted a book fair in its library.
“We started the book fair last week and we had dads come in and have doughnuts and buy books for their kids. We had one day when moms came in and had muffins and bought books for their kids. We had grandparents come in to buy books with their grandkids, we called it goodies for grands,” Cunningham said. “We have had a tremendous turnout for all of our activities this year. It’s been one of our best years yet.”
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 208, or firstname.lastname@example.org.