From the Gridiron to Paperback

Varsity football players spend their time reading at Millard elementary schools

Nate Thomas, Staff Writer

While half the students reported for standardized testing at school on Wednesday, Oct. 11th, the Millard West Varsity Football players were able to take a trip to Reeder Elementary and spend time reading to kindergartners.

With sophomores and juniors reporting for testing, the seniors spent roughly an hour visiting most of the rooms across the school, reading books corresponding to the upcoming holiday, Halloween.

Each player paired up with another, and were able to visit two classrooms each. Elementary students were given a short break for the day to meet with some of their role models, and ask questions about high school life and football.

“It felt great to give back to the community,” senior Connor Ekborg said. “Especially to the kids that look up to us.”

Senior Alex Johnson spends time individually with a student reading his book. A defensive standout this season, he was also able to use his time to volunteer in his community at local schools. “My favorite part was just helping out the community,” Johnson said. “Seeing all of their faces light up was great.” photo by Haley Renken

Two weeks later, the Wildcats also took over Holling Heights Elementary, as the month’s superheroes, to deliver boxes full of books to classrooms of all ages. After they unloaded all the boxes, players spent time talking with kids, reading their books and signing autographs inside of the book’s covers.

“It was neat to see a kid’s face light up like it did,” senior Jaden Cover said. “We did not think it meant that much until we saw how much it meant to them.”

It was not smooth sailing for the then Wildcats after their exciting visits to the schools, with a game against undefeated Lincoln High on Oct. 20th and their first playoff game a week later on the 29th.

“It was a big event for team bonding with the crucial games upcoming,” senior Kobe Johnson said. “It really brought the personalities out of all the players.”

The varsity football players were able to spend their time productively outside of school and practice, and were able to gain the respect of many youth inside of the community with the gracious help of parents of the players involved at both Millard schools.