(FREDERICTON, N.B.) - Last week, a group of St. Thomas Tommies AUS and ACAA student-athletes once again took part in the Tommies Read to Succeed community outreach program.
This was the program’s first visit to Montgomery Street Elementary School. Previously, the program has made trips to Park Street Elementary school and Liverpool Street Elementary, all in Fredericton.
Student-athletes from the AUS cross country team and ACAA women’s volleyball and women’s basketball teams visit classrooms to read to students and promote the importance of reading.
Fourth-year AUS cross country runner and student-athlete president Nathan Paton has been involved with the Tommies Read to Succeed program for four years and says their visits are always well-received. “The students are always amazed to see us,” he laughs. “It’s like they regard us as celebrities.”
Paton says the program really seems to help the students see the fun in reading. “They are always really engaged with us as readers and are great to ask us tons of questions,” he says. “And the teachers are always pleased to have a little excitement and variance in the classroom. I think they know that it makes the students’ day.”
For Paton, who is originally from Souris, P.E.I., the program is as much about being a member of the community as it is about outreach. “I don’t know many people in the city, and certainly no one with kids,” he says. “You sort of get disconnected from the community and doing things like this is a great way to reconnect with everything that is going on around you.”
He says it is a win-win program for all involved. “You get to be a positive role model in the eyes of the kids, but we as student-athletes always leave with a smile and a little more insight than we had before.”
Further to that, Paton says the program is beneficial to himself and a few fellow student-athletes who are aspiring teachers. “It is a great way to get back into the schools, which we love,” he says. “I will certainly be going back for more of these events.”