Oct. 21, 2004
Kicking off its 14th year, the Verizon Read with the Blue Devils program has teamed up Duke Athletics and local schools creating a fun venue for reading and learning. Throughout the school year, Duke student-athletes will visit local third graders, read aloud their favorite stories, and emphasize the importance of reading in accomplishing goals in and out of the classroom.
Women's basketball players Alison Bales and Caitlin Howe visited Eastway Elementary where they read A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon to the excited, attentive group of third graders.
Later in the week, E.K. Powe Elementary greeted junior Lee Melchionni and freshman David McClure of the men's basketball team with a poster that read, "Welcome Duke Athletes Dave & Lee!" The Blue Devil athletes entertained the E.K. Powe third graders with the adventurous tale, Penny Lee and Her TV by Glenn McCoy. After the story, the students sang "Happy Birthday" to Lee who was celebrating his 21st birthday.
Senior men's basketball captain Daniel Ewing and junior Ross Perkins read in the library of George Watts Montessori Elementary. Students listened to Crazy Hair Day by Barney Saltzberg and learned that sometimes each player had to read over 100 pages a day for class.
Junior men's basketball All-America Shelden Williams and cross country and track and field standout Paige Miller read to students at Immaculata. Impressed by Sheldon's physical stature, the students asked him to stand up, touch the ceiling, and even reveal his shoe size!
A total of 17 Durham-area schools currently participate in the Verizon Read with the Blue Devils program. The Duke student-athlete visits are only one part of the program's purpose. The program also encourages students to read 15 minutes outside of school everyday by supplying prize incentives like pom-poms, posters, pens, and autograph books.