Jayhawk Student-Athletes Celebrate Dr. Seuss's 100th Birthday

March 7, 2010

LAWRENCE, Kan.– –

March 2, 2010 marked Dr. Seuss’s 100th birthday in conjunction with the National Education Association’s (NEA) Read Across America event in which the entire nation came together, including Michelle Obama, to celebrate the importance of reading. Jayhawk student-athletes from six different teams joined up not only on March 2 to help carry out the NEA’s mission, but they also made READ visits the entire week to celebrate this event.

These visits were part of the READ with the Jayhawks program. Jayhawk student-athletes and KU Libraries have teamed up with the local Lawrence community to promote literacy. This program puts student-athletes into local schools and libraries to read throughout the year.

Dr. Seuss is known for his silly imaginative books and that is just the point Jayhawk student-athletes wanted to make, reading is fun.

“The KU athletes did a great job reading and sharing their thoughts on the importance of reading,” Mandy Meyer, Eudora elementary school teacher said. They were very exciting to listen to and the kids enjoyed their visit.”

Perhaps some of the most popular books were by Dr. Seuss including: Horton Hears a Who!, Oh the Places You’ll Go and of course The Cat in the Hat.

Kindergartener, Lauren, from Eudora Elementary school enjoyed the visits and hopes one day she will be able to play sports as well as the student-athletes.

“They were very nice,” Lauren said. “The books they read were real cool. They are cool readers and pretty. I wish I could run and swim like them!”

The Jayhawk student-athletes celebrate this event every year and every year more children have the opportunity to learn about the importance of reading.

“It was a lot of fun,” junior football player Jake Laptad said. “We read to them. Then afterwards we answered some questions that they had about us and then we signed some autographs, some kids even had me sign their arms.”

In the midst of all the Dr. Seuss decorations and books, the student-athletes really had an opportunity to make a difference in local children’ s lives and Meg Proehl, senior diver, thinks she might have been more excited about the day than the kids were.

“These kids are so appreciative of the fact that KU athletes, no matter what sport, are coming to read to them,” Proehl explained. “The kids I have read to this week have made me feel so special, and while they’re excited to have athletes come to them, I don’t think they realize how excited all the athletes are to visit these awesome kids. Making these reading visits is such a rewarding experience, and I hope that everyone who has participated thus far passes the word on to their teammates so eventually we can have representation from every team at KU reading.”

Jayhawk student-athletes will continue their mission to teach children about the importance of reading one book at a time.

For more information, please contact Mike Harrity, Assistant Athletics Director at mharrity@ku.edu