‘Read with a Red Raider’ boosts literacy

Meyersdale Area School District  |  Posted on

“Read with a Red Raider” was held Wednesday, August 31 at the football stadium. Student brought their favorite books and cozy blankets and enjoyed the evening of reading under the lights with members of the Red Raider football team and cheerleading squad. Participants included football players Collin Kruase and Brady McKenzie. They are seen with students Channing Christner, Caden Donaldson and Colton Donaldson.

On August 31, the Red Raider varsity football team and cheerleaders hosted a “Read with a Red Raider” night for students in second and third grade. The event was held at the football stadium and members of the football and cheer squads read books to second and third grade students under the lights. This special evening also included activities with the football players and cheerleaders, as well as light refreshments.

According to event organizer, Candace Donaldson, this is the first year for this event and both organizations hope to make this a new Red Raider tradition. Donaldson is a middle school reading teacher at Meyersdale Area School District (MASD). “Everyone is so excited to be a part of this special event. We had more than 40 football players and six cheerleaders attend,” Donaldson explained. Students were encouraged to bring a blanket and their favorite books to “Read with a Red Raider,” but books from the school library were also be available.

While this year’s event is limited to second and third grade students, Donaldson said she plans to broaden the age group in coming years. “As a reading teacher, my goal is to get the students excited about reading! I think this will be an opportunity for our younger readers to get excited about building on their literacy skills with older students.”

Donaldson said the football players were excited to be a part of this event and enjoyed meeting their young fans: “I was surprised to see these big tough football players be a little nervous about reading to the younger kids. They mentioned that they didn’t want to mess up in front of them. I think some are excited to get younger siblings, cousins, or neighbors and have some time to bond with them,” she explained. “I think it’s so important for older students to give back to the community and take the time to make connections with the little ones.”

The Red Raider Cheerleaders were thrilled to be a part of this event and enjoyed sharing their school spirit and love of reading with the younger students. Karisa White and Mindy Pletcher serve as the coaches for the cheerleaders. “We are very excited to have the opportunity to be a part of reading under the lights. The girls want the kids to know that everyone is a reader, you just have to find your favorite book. So don’t give up, keep looking for that favorite book and you will be amazed at what you can learn by reading,” explained Pletcher.

The 2022 marks the 100th anniversary of the Meyersdale Varsity Football program and organizers are excited to begin a new tradition as the school and community celebrates the century-old tradition of football at MAHS. “We are hoping to have many more years of football here at Meyersdale and players doing events like this to give back to the community,” added Donaldson.