GALION — Galion High School football players have volunteered their time every Friday during the 2021 season to spend time reading to the younger Tigers at the Galion Primary and Galion Intermediate Schools.
The players have been reading to Primary and Intermediate students for the past six years. While the entire football team participates in the program, only four to six players go each week.
“It’s important for the players to go to the buildings to read and interact with younger students to stress the importance of reading and academics,” Galion Head Football coach Matt Dick said. “Younger students really look up to high school football players and hopefully inspire them to be like them.”
The idea originally began with former Galion Superintendent Jim Grubbs, who challenged Coach Dick to bring this program together on his first day of work at Galion.
“I think the entire administrative team has challenged athletes and coaches, as well as those students who don’t participate in sports, to give back to Galion more,” Coach Dick said. “Sixty hours of community service, which is a graduation requirement, is easily attained if students get involved in clubs, teams, and groups at Galion High School.”
The overwhelming consensus is that students at both Galion Primary and Galion Intermediate love it when the older students come into their buildings.
“The students have loved seeing the players and listening to them read to them,” Galion Intermediate Assistant Principal Sam Staton said. “It is a bonus anytime we can get students to read to students!”
“The staff and students both get excited when the players come to read,” Galion Primary Principal Katy Erlsten said. “The students are rather mesmerized and sit so quietly to listen!”
Erlsten and Staton agree it’s important for the younger students to see the older Tigers coming back and giving their time.
“I happened to be in the hallway one Friday when the players were here reading,” Erlsten said. “They were so cute to watch because they were nervous and excited themselves!”
“This is an amazing program that benefits both our football team members and the students at Galion Primary and Galion Intermediate,” Superintendent Jennifer Allerding said. “I want to thank Coach Dick and his coaching staff for encouraging our football players to give back and spend time with our younger Tigers!”
For information about Galion City Schools, go to the district website www.galionschools.org. Like Galion City Schools on Facebook.