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Pavelski Gets Kids Hooked on Books

by San Jose Sharks Staff / San Jose Sharks

With the start of the new school year, the Reading Is Cool program officially kicked into high gear this month with over 900 classrooms registering, the most in the program’s history. While all participating classrooms will be provided with incentive items and promotional materials, for the very first class to register, there was a special surprise in store: a visit from Sharks forward Joe Pavelski and mascot S.J. Sharkie!

“It's not everyday we get to meet a professional athlete and an iconic mascot. [The students] couldn't stop talking about it. Trying to teach math right after was difficult,” said Linh Ho, whose 2nd Grade class at Shirakawa Elementary was visited on Tuesday, October 20.

Pavelski, along with Sharks Foundation Manager Laura Johnston, read to the children, talked with them about the importance of reading and going to college and questioned them about their dreams for the future.

“If I can’t be on the road with the team, I’m glad I was able to get out into the community,” said Pavelski, who is currently sidelined with minor lower body injury. “It’s not something I get to do very often and the kids were awesome.”

Pavelski began by reading Gilbert the Great, a book about a great white shark, and S.J. Sharkie assisted by pulling various students up to act out different characters with him. Afterwards the children asked Pavelski about when he first learned to skate (age 5), what his favorite books were as a kid (both the Curious George and The Berenstain Bears series) and where he played hockey growing up (a self-made rink in the backyard created from snow and ice). The tables were turned when Pavelski talked about his dream of being a professional hockey player and asked the children what their dreams were.

“Those kids were all over the place. They wanted to be doctors, artists, pilots and teachers. It was great! It reminded me about my own dreams growing up and how lucky I am to have been able to achieve them,” Pavelski noted.

“The program is awesome because it motivates the students to reach a goal and challenge themselves to become better readers. I am very grateful and I know that my students were very excited and appreciative of the visit today,” Ho said.

In addition to Ho’s class, the rest of the first ten classrooms to register will be rewarded during the month of October with a visit from S.J. Sharkie. The prize was extremely coveted and teachers had to log on to the Sharks Foundation’s website at 7:30 in the morning on September 25 to register and attempt to win a visit.

Congratulations to the first ten classrooms to register!

Hope Backman’s 1st Grade at Meadows School
Krista Bernetsky’s 5 at Searles Elementary
Linh Ho’s 2nd Grade21 at Shirakawa School
Lynette Irvine’s 5/6 Combo at Capt. Jason M. Dahl Elementary School
Jennifer Jacobson’s 3rd Grade at Meyer School
Cris Lawson’s5th Grade at Garden Gate Elementary School
Emmanuela Luna’s 2nd Grade at Baldwin School
TraceyMatsui’s Kindergarten at Taylor School
Shelley McCracken’s 4/5 Combo at Baldwin School
DebbiePavlos’ 2nd Grade at Baker (Gussie M.) School

There is still some space in the Reading Is Cool program! To register, please visit

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