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Happy Reading

by Kaitlin Zurawsky / Pittsburgh Penguins

The students at West View Elementary School received a fun break from their classes on Wednesday.

After practice, Penguin's defenseman Ben Lovejoy visited the school to read to third grade classes as part of the Trib Total Media sponsored "Newspapers in Education" program.

"This is the second year working with (Ben) and he's absolutely wonderful with the kids," said Kathy Crossey, the Newspapers in Education Coordinator, "I think when you have a sports person, such as Ben, promoting reading it really hits home with the kids."

Three classes of third graders gathered in the school's library to hear Lovejoy read "The Hallo-Weiner".

"The West View librarian picked out the book for me," Lovejoy said. "She gave me six or seven to flip through and she recommended ‘The Hallo-Weiner,’ which is soon to be a classic."

Newspapers in Education provides area schools with free newspapers to use as educational tools and sponsors events like this to show the importance of getting an education.

"One of the most important things is certainly education and reading," said Lovejoy, a Dartmouth graduate. "(It's important to emphasize) at a young age that their role models, the Pittsburgh Penguins, do other things. We're capable of reading and many of us went to school, went to college and we are more than just hockey players and it's important for these kids to know that."

Stefani Tumbas, West View's librarian, was happy to have one of the kids role models visit.

"It's nice to have someone who is not a teacher they see everyday say that you should read and you should enjoy it," said Tumbas. "They hear it from us every day, so to have someone else say it is really nice because it is reinforcing that school and reading are just so important."

After Lovejoy read, the students had a chance to ask questions which ranged from his hockey skills to his personal life to even giving him advice to not fight Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara.

"There were some good questions," Lovejoy said. "A lot of people wanted to know about my fighting, or lack thereof."

Each student received a Penguins youth jersey drawstring bag which Lovejoy signed along with anything else the students brought.

It was a successful day for the students, teachers, and Lovejoy himself.
"It's fun to do this stuff and see all the little Penguins fans."
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