With elementary schools just weeks away from concluding, Bruno Gervais and the Islanders wanted to get one last message out to the students before they went their separate ways: Keep Reading!
On Monday, Gervais visited Camp Avenue Elementary School in North Merrick to help launch the 2008 Commerce Bank Summer Reading Program, designed to encourage students to read on their own, especially during the summer when school is not in session.
"I received such a warm welcome from all the students at Camp Avenue School," said Gervais. "As soon as I walked up to the school doors I noticed the welcome signs hanging."
With "Welcome Bruno" signs lining the walls to the entrance of the auditorium, Gervais was greeted by an excited group of 300 students from grades kindergarten through third. After years of experience in situations like these, Gervais knew exactly what to do in order to entertain the crowd.
Speaking in his polished English, Gervais, a native of the province of Quebec, told the students a little about himself before diving into the reading of "Brady Brady and the Most Important Game" by Mary Shaw and Chuck Temple.
He followed up the book with a brief explanation of why reading and school is so important no matter what profession one wants to pursue. Considering Gervais' mother is a teacher, he was the perfect choice for advocating education to Long Island's youths.
To get the kids involved, Gervais fielded questions from the students, whose hands shot up, hoping to find out a little more about the Islanders' young defenseman.
"I had a great time reading to the students today," said Gervais. "It is so important for kids to understand why it’s important to read and to go to school. I always welcome the opportunity to come into a school and leave a lasting impression on a child. School is very important and I am glad I can help bring this message to the students."Kids who sign up for Commerce Bank’s Summer Reading Program can earn $10 for reading ten books of their choice. The Summer Reading Program runs through September 13. Program forms are available at any Commerce Bank branch. Call toll-free 1-888-751-9000 for information.