"Reading and writing is important in all aspects of life," said Chris Campoli to a gym full of students at the Old Country Road School in Hicksville. "Whether you're a hockey player, teacher or doctor, you have to be able to read and write in order to succeed."
That was the message the entire Islanders team gave to students at 12 different Elementary Schools across Nassau and Suffolk County on Tuesday. Prior to their afternoon practice, the team took part in the Second Annual Sharp and Davis Vision Islanders Literacy Day, which is dedicated to teaching young minds the importance of literacy through a school assembly run by Islanders players.
Over in Merrick, Sean Bergenheim and Trent Hunter were greeted by a rousing applause from the students at Norman J. Levy Lakeside School before reading the Brady, Brady book they brought.
The students listened attentively as Bergenheim flipped through the pages.
"What a great day to meet our young fans and stress the importance of reading to the kids," said Hunter. "It was nice to see so many of the kids dressed in Islanders jerseys and t-shirts. The students, teachers and faculty made us feel very welcomed."
Meanwhile, similar assemblies could be seen at Sycamore Avenue Elementary in Bohemia, where Richard Park and Marc-Andre Bergeron read to kids ranging in age from eight to ten. Mike Comrie and Bruno Gervais also had a good time with the students of Central Boulevard School in Bethpage.
At Old Country Road School, Rick DiPietro
and Campoli finished up their reading of "Face-off" and began fielding questions from the students eager to find out more about their favorite team.
"Have you ever scored a goal?" asked one student.
"Chris has scored a lot of goals, as for me, I haven't, but, I've been trying," admitted Rick to some laughs from the crowd.
The question and answer session continued for about 20 minutes until it was stopped in order to sign autographs for each and every one of the students.
"It was really cool meeting the Islanders," said Kyle, a fifth grader from Hicksville. "DiPietro is my favorite player and I got to meet him and get his autograph.
Added classmate Kelly: "I'm a huge Islanders and DiPietro fan and this is the first time I've ever met him."
Bill Guerin and Mike Sillinger, just days away from playing in Game #1000 of his career, each flew solo at the Floyd B. Watson Elementary School in Rockville Centre and Jackson Avenue School in Mineola.
"This is a terrific day for the students," said Old Country Road School Anthony Lubrano. "It's an opportunity to have role models read to the students and hopefully excite them to pick up a book and read on their own independently. As a school-wide event it unites us and focuses on literacy."
We also encourage you to read Mark Herrmann's in-depth article on Sharp and Davis Vision Islanders Literacy Day in Wednesday's Newsday. You can access the article by clicking here
. Below is the list of schools the players attended.
Old Country Road School - Chris Campoli and Rick DiPietro
Grand Avenue School - Miroslav Satan and Bryan Berard
Norman J. Levy Lakeside - Trent Hunter and Sean Bergenheim
Jackson Avenue School - Mike Sillinger
Central Blvd. School - Mike Comrie and Bruno Gervais
Oceanside School #2, Florence A Smith - Radek Martinek and Andy Sutton
Sea Cliff Elementary School - Ruslan Fedotenko and Chris Simon
Sycamore Avenue Elementary - Richard Park Marc-Andre Bergeron
Centre Avenue School - Andy Hilbert
Floyd B. Watson Elem. School - Bill Guerin
Summit Lane School - Wade Dubielewicz and Aaron Johnson
Sylvan Elementary School - Brendan Witt and Josef Vasicek Check out video on Islanders TV from Literacy Day.