Just as many Sharks fans eagerly awaited the start of the season this past October, many local teachers also looked forward to the launch of the team’s free literacy program, Reading Is Cool.
Reading Is Cool, presented by The Sharks Foundation, The Mercury News and FSN Bay Area, officially launched at www.sjsharkie.com on Oct. 10 and it couldn’t come soon enough for some.
“I signed my class up for Reading Is Cool because it has motivated my students more than any other reading program that I have found,” Becky Kunkel, a teacher at Forrest Park Elementary School in Fremont and the first teacher to register online this year, said. “My class is always excited to find out who the top reader for the month is and it has really motivated the kids to read more.”
Many teachers must agree with Kunkel. To date, nearly 500 classrooms have been registered, representing a diverse range of grades and geographic areas.
“We have classes participating from Gilroy to Fremont to Palo Alto and everywhere in between,” Sharks Foundation Manager Laura Johnston said. “For many teachers, it’s their first time, so we’re thrilled they’re hearing good things and want to start Reading Is Cool in their classrooms.”
Designed for kindergarten through sixth graders in Santa Clara County and southern Alameda County (Newark, Fremont, and Union City), the program promotes the importance of reading through classroom visits from S.J Sharkie, educational fieldtrips to HP Pavilion and Celebrity Story Hours with Sharks players and coaches, among other events. Each month teachers record the number of books their students read and award their top reader a special Reading Is Cool prize. The top ten classrooms also receive a visit from S.J Sharkie to congratulate the students on their reading achievements.
“It’s a fantastic program that truly gets the children to read and gets them excited about books,” Caryn Anstine, a second grade teacher at Brooktree Elementary in San Jose, said. “Of course they love all the monthly prizes, but the thing they love the most is when S.J. Sharkie comes. Some of my previous students are now in high school, but they’ll still come back and tell me their favorite memory from my class was Sharkie visiting!”
“Wow, that’s awesome! It’s great to know that these kids really do take the program with them as they get older,” S.J. Sharkie wrote when he heard about Anstine’s former students. “Visiting the monthly top classrooms is one of my favorite parts of the program too!”
For more information on Reading Is Cool or to register, please visit www.sjsharkie.com.
| S.J. Sharkie visits Ms. Kunkel's class as part of Reading Is Cool |
SONY PLAYSTATION FUTURE SHARKS
The Santa Rosa Flyers PeeWee squad and San Jose Junior Sharks Girls 10 & under team visited HP Pavilion in October to participate in the Sony PlayStation Future Sharks program.
On Oct. 15, the Sharks hosted 12 players from the Santa Rosa Flyers as they took part in a shootout during the second intermission of the Sharks vs. Blackhawks game. The crowd was treated to highlight after highlight as the skaters performed impressive moves and the goalies made big saves.
"The SR Flyers had the time of their lives last night,” hockey mom Robin Franklin said after the game. “We had a blast and the Sharks won! What a terrific evening had by all!"
On Oct. 29, the Sharks welcomed the San Jose Jr. Sharks Girls 10 & under team to the ice. The first of five all-female teams coming to HP Pavilion as part of Future Sharks, the Jr. Sharks Girls 10 & under team skated with purpose and enthusiasm during their moment in the spotlight.
In the end, the Teal team squeaked by 1-0. But it didn’t matter to the girls who won or lost, they simply savored the experience.
“The girls had a great time,” Head Coach Dave Barnard said. “This was a great experience for them. You can tell they had a lot of fun!”
The Sony PlayStation Future Sharks program gives NORCAL youth (12 & under) hockey clubs the opportunity to showcase their talent at designated Sharks games. If your team would like the chance of a lifetime to play on NHL ice, contact Erin Buchanan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
| The San Jose Jr. Sharks Girls 10 & under team took the ice at HP Pavilion on Oct. 29 |
S.J. SHARKIE VISITS MACSA YOUTH CENTER
The San Jose Sharks staff and team mascot S.J. Sharkie visited the Mexican American Community Services Agency, Inc. (MACSA) Youth Center in San Jose on Oct. 6 as part of the Sharks “10 Days of Hockey” to kickoff the 2005-06 season. MACSA Youth Center offers children and teens in Santa Clara County numerous athletic and academic programs to enrich their lives and foster a positive sense of community.
Sharks employees, along with S.J. Sharkie, provided hours of fun for more than 50 children with the Mobile Shark Tank, street hockey instruction and numerous prizes and giveaways, including player autographed memorabilia and tickets to an upcoming Sharks home game.
The Sharks staff gave a quick tutorial on the fundamentals of hockey—stick handling, passing and shooting—before letting the kids play a series of short five-on-five scrimmages.
Many children were playing hockey for the first time. From the smiles on their faces and their enthusiasm to get on the court, it was obvious these children were eager to learn and participate.
“This means a lot to the children,” Mario Gonzalez, MACSA sports and recreation coordinator, said. “This is the first time playing hockey for 99 percent of these kids. We’ve tried to play various sports but with the San Jose Sharks presence and help, they’re adapting to hockey quickly. Hopefully, we will have the chance to do this in the future with the Sharks because they are definitely liking it.”
The kids weren’t just excited about playing street hockey. They were excited to meet their favorite mascot. Besides signing autographs for all the children in attendance, Sharkie made a surprise appearance in net, tending goal for a few games as the crowd cheered him on.
Holding her handmade “Go Sharkie” sign, nine-year-old Vanessa said, “This is the most fun I’ve ever had in my whole entire life. It looks like Sharkie is having fun too! I think I will make a Sharkie poster tomorrow in class, because I am Sharkie’s No. 1 fan!”
This may have been their first time playing hockey, but surely not their last!
| S.J. Sharkie tends the net at MACSA Youth Center |
TIS THE SEASON OF GIVING FOR THE SHARKS AND THEIR FANS
The San Jose Sharks and The Sharks Foundation recognize the importance of giving back to the community, especially during the holiday season.
On Oct. 29 and Nov. 2, The Sharks Foundation, The Mercury News and FSN Bay Area held their annual Reading Is Cool Book Drive to benefit local Bay Area schools. The children’s books collected on these dates will be donated to participating Reading Is Cool classrooms throughout Santa Clara and southern Alameda counties.
The following week, The Sharks Foundation will team up with Second Harvest Food Bank to collect nonperishable items in their yearly Holiday Food Drive. Do your part in the fight against hunger this season by donating on Nov. 12 (vs. Dallas) and Nov. 16 (vs. Vancouver).
The Sharks Foundation will partner with Lift Up America on Dec. 6 (vs. Atlanta) to collect used eyeglasses and sunglasses. As part of Gift of Sight, glasses collected will be recycled and distributed to underprivileged children and adults in developing countries throughout the world.
During home games on Dec. 8 (vs. Florida) and Dec. 16 (vs. Washington), The Sharks Foundation will host a Toy Drive to collect new, unwrapped toys and monetary donations to benefit local families through the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots program.
Due to the kindness of our fans, the San Jose Sharks have been very successful in helping those in need. Please continue to support the community by contributing to our drives. To thank fans for their generosity, donors will be entered to win autographed Sharks memorabilia at each event. All drives will occur at the main North and South entrances to HP Pavilion at San Jose.
For information on any of these events, please visit the Sharks website at SJSHARKS.com or contact Laura Johnston at email@example.com.
| The Sharks will be holding a number of donation drives during the holiday season |
SAN JOSE SHARKS FINATICAL KIDS CLUB
The San Jose Sharks are excited to announce the launch of the FinAtical Kids Club, a club designed for Sharks fans 16-and-under.
By joining, members will receive exclusive benefits and special offers that are only available through the FinAtical Kids Club.
Keep checking sjsharks.com and sjsharkie.com in the coming weeks for more information regarding the newest and most exciting kids club in the NHL.
For those of you who have always wondered what it’s like to be a professional athlete, here’s your chance. On Apr. 1, the San Jose Sharks will be playing host to their annual “Shark For a Day” fantasy camp. This is your opportunity to take a pass from Sharks alum, suit up in official Sharks gear and experience a day in the life of a San Jose Shark.
From the moment you step into the building until you step off of the ice, you will get as close as you can get to being an NHL player without actually worrying about a hip check from Kyle McLaren.
Scheduled attendees include former Sharks Gary Suter and Ron Stern with more Sharks alums to be added. Cost of the event is $1,250. Space is limited and on a first come, first served basis. Proceeds collected from the “Shark For a Day Fantasy Camp” will benefit The Sharks Foundation.
For more information about the Fantasy Camp or to have your name added to the already growing mailing list, contact Jeff Cafuir at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit sjsharks.com and click on “Hockey Programs” in the “Community” section.
This year's "Shark for a Day" fantasy camp will be held on April 1
SHARKS COLLECTING USED EYEGLASSES
On Dec. 6, as the Atlanta Thrashers come to town, the San Jose Sharks are partnering with Lift Up America to encourage Sharks fans to donate used eyeglasses.
Collection bins will be placed at each HP Pavilion entrance and those Sharks fans who donate one or more used eyeglasses that night will receive a ticket good for autographed merchandise to be raffled off throughout the evening.
Lift Up America is a non-profit organization partnering with business leaders, pro sports owners, and athletic directors developing creative ways to provide compassionate aid throughout . Tyson Food (frozen food giveaway to shelters and agencies catering to the impoverished), the Luxottica Group (eyeware and free exams) and Ty Inc (stuffed animal giveaway) are currently the key sponsors of the December 2005 event, donating about ten percent of what each company gives away annually.
Twenty-one cities across the U.S. will serve as distribution hubs during this week, with 23 professional and university sports teams and more than 500 compassionate organizations working together to lift up America.
Lift Up America encourages every corporate leader to become more involved in acts of generosity and kindness to those who need a helping hand.
Luxottica Retail is the North American retail segment of the Luxottica Group, S.p.A., based in Milan, and is the world leader in design, manufacture, marketing, and distribution of prescription frames and sunglasses. Luxottica Retail comprises nearly 5,000 retail locations throughout North America , including LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, Sears Optical, Target Optical, BJ's Optical, Sunglass Hut, Watch World, Watch Station, and Things Remembered.
Give the Gift of Sight is the charitable foundation of Luxottica. Luxottica Retail associates and doctors, in conjunction with Lions Clubs International, deliver free eye care and eyeglasses to people in need across North America and in developing countries.
To donate your used eyeglasses, just bring them to the Sharks game on Dec. 6.