When a devastating blaze set fire to Trace Elementary this summer, destroying the school's library, media center, and 16 classrooms, San Jose's largest elementary school was challenged just before the start of the year and asked to strive forward.
Half-way through the year, many of the students are still adjusting to the routine of crossing the street to get back and forth from temporary classrooms hosted on the nearby middle school campus. Despite the adverse situations, the students have gone on without making any excuses.
So when it came time to reward the hard earned progress that many of the students of Trace Elementary had made, one loveable community figure was "chomping at the bit" to come see the children.
Over the course of three days, SJ Sharkie and the Sharks Foundation visited nine classrooms at Trace Elementary, rewarding students and teachers whose classrooms were registered in the Reading Is Cool presented by Comerica Bank program.
The kids were all smiles as Sharkie bombarded the rooms filling the early afternoon with joy and fun. Each student had the opportunity to interact with the San Jose Sharks mascot and one kid from each classroom was awarded a special honor from Sharkie himself, for being the top reader in the room.
Needless to say, each visit "energized" the students for the rest of the day, leaving them to be managed by the nevertheless appreciative teachers.
"Sharkie immediately established a fun and magnificent rapport with the students and teachers," said Special Day Classroom teacher Dr. Cameron Brown. "Thank you for your supportive activities and materials for reading to all students. I look forward to another year when I will use this outstanding program in my classroom!"
Reading Is Cool presented by Comerica Bank is an elementary-aged, school-based program that highlights the importance of reading, offers incentive items for participation and rewards top performing individuals and classrooms. The program is free of any charge and provides participating classrooms and teachers with a proven vehicle to supplement their respective reading and literacy platforms.
One of the major components from the program is Sharkie visiting classrooms and donating books for use in the classroom or school library. On average, Sharkie and his team connect with over 15 classrooms per month, interacting with over 2,500 kids in a full year.
In addition to the visits, registered classrooms are chosen at random to take part in the Reading Is Cool presented by Comerica Bank Private Practice. The sessions are hosted a San Jose Sharks radio broadcast members who provides a hockey 101 and question and answer session for the kids. After which, they enjoy practice and perhaps a chance to hear from some of the players.
Also, the Top Reader of the Year from each classroom is entered in a drawing to come out and enjoy a Sharks game and pizza party with Sharkie in a luxury suite.
It is with this program and these incentives that Sharkie, the Sharks Foundation, and Comerica Bank hope that under-performance in the area of literacy can be conquered.
"The 'Reading Is Cool' program is truly making our students want to read more," said 4th grade teacher Janis Riccomini. "They have even established a competition amongst themselves to see who can read the most. Even my son is showing initiative to read on his own. He has never done that before!"
Please visit Reading Is Cool Presented by Comerica Bank
for more information.