Athletes, civic group support district readers

Elementary students gather around high school athletes to receive a free book

Promoting reading at the elementary level is everyone’s responsibility. You have only to look to district athletes and community leaders for proof.

A recent Friday game night that featured both varsity girls and boys basketball showed off the commitment to bolstering the district’s elementary reading program.

It was the second year student athletes hosted a book drive, offering discounted tickets to those who made donations of new books for the elementary library, librarian Sara Schutt said.

Last year, more than 200 books were donated, and “By the looks of the carts, we probably doubled the number from last year,” said Athletic Director Jason Vogel. In fact, the number collected this year was triple the inaugural number: 601.

The same night as the book drive, the Casnovia/Kent City Lions Club hosted a pancake dinner at the school, with proceeds to benefit the same cause.

“Success in school relies heavily on reading ability,” Vogel said. “The varsity boys and girls basketball teams have a message for the future generations of Kent City basketball players: learning to read is as important to your future as learning to dribble in basketball.”

Both the season’s teams sport impressive cumulative grade-point averages: the varsity boys team carries a 3.613 GPA, and the varsity girls team a 3.893 GPA.

Additionally, breakfast for books events have been held annually for a number of years during the community’s fall festival, said Bob Sarachman, a Lions Club member who also serves on the district’s Board of Education. The club has raised more than $5,000 to the cause over the years, he said.

“The gift of providing books for our children is a gift our local Lions are happy to help provide,” Sarachman said.

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Janice Holst
Janice Holst has been both a teacher and a journalist. A former MLive reporter, she wrote features and covered local government and schools for Advance Newspapers for nearly two decades. She also was a recipe columnist and wrote features for Mature Life Style and occasional entertainment pieces for On The Town magazines. She lives in Sparta Township and is thrilled to spend some of her retirement hours writing the stories of the northern Kent County school districts. Read Janice's full bio or email Janice.

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