Jayhawk Football Players Continue to Give Back

March 26, 2010


On the day before their first official spring football practice, three Jayhawk student-athlete, junior Brad Thorson, sophomore Corrigan Powell and junior Chris Harris, visited Hillcrest Elementary school to read to some very excited first graders.

“Even though we have practice tomorrow, we always like to find time to give back to the community,” Harris said.

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.

This was Powell’s first READ visit and he had no problem jumping in and getting the kids excited about reading. Powell even taught the kids a little Jayhawk spirit by showing them how to wave the wheat.

“C.P. (Powell) was one of the best first time readers I have ever seen. His skills blew me out of the water,” Thorson said.

Thorson and Powell teamed up to read Swallowed a Fly, while Harris read solo about a dog that just wouldn’t stop growing. After they were done reading the players explained to the kids the importance of doing well in school.

One math teacher even complimented the student-athletes on the great job they did.

“The kids came into my room and told me that we have to read a lot to play football,” said Hillcrest Elementary math teacher. “They kids were so excited. Even if you didn’t think you made a big impact, you really did.”

“It felt good making an impact on the kids because I think they will remember this for years to come,” Powell said.

The school was lined with Jayhawk artwork and one could feel the sense of community in a school with children from 48 different countries.

“It was a fun experience,” Powell said. “I feel like those kids really opened me up. I would definitely do it again, it was nice.”

During the question and answer section Thorson challenged the first graders to guess how much he weighed, their first response was 1000 pounds. Eventually the kids got down to the right number of 300.

Although this didn’t hurt Thorson’s feelings because reading to kids and having fun was what the visit was all about.

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