Scrappy, KSU student-athletes challenge children to read

Scrappy the Owl is taking more than 4,000 Cobb County elementary school students under his wing. KSU’s mascot is on a mission to entice young students to read – with a little help from his more athletic friends.
 
In early November, a group of KSU student-athletes and coaches began a novel reading program, the Jr. Owls Reading Challenge, sponsored by a Target Foundation grant. The idea was to inject a little bit of humor and friendly competition into reading.
 
Five schools were selected for the pilot program: Baker Elementary, Bells Ferry Elementary, Big Shanty Elementary, Chalker Elementary and Hayes Intermediate School.
 
“Instead of merely reading from a book, Scrappy helps us act out the passages with a little improv,” explained Montye Edwards, a marketing associate in the Athletics Department. “The kids really love it!”
 
“We’ll often read a book during assembly with an entire grade,” Edwards said. “The kids totally enjoyed it when we did ‘Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.’ I read the book and the student-athletes played the parts. Then, the kids got to vote for who was the best ‘monkey’ in the story.”
 
The schools score points for the books read, with the winners recognized during the KSU vs. Stetson women’s basketball game on Feb. 12. Each school will earn at least $100 for its media center, while the grand prize winner will receive $500 from Target and a pizza party with Scrappy and the student-athletes given by Zucca Pizzeria.
 
“We wanted to do this for some time, but needed help to kick it off,” said Brian LeHeup, assistant director of marketing/promotions in the Athletics Department. “Montye approached Target through Georgina Sloane-Kemp, the team leader at the Kennesaw Target store. She helped us get our grant proposal approved for funding.”
 
Minneapolis-based Target donates 5 percent of its income to community projects and is on track to give $1 billion to support education by 2015.
 
George Olney, assistant athletics director for external affairs, said KSU has long enjoyed a close working partnership with Target. “This is just another example of how much Target cares about educating young people.”
 
 
 
KSU student-athletes and Scrappy have taken youngsters at Hayes Intermediate under their wing. Student-athletes pictured clockwise from left: Camille Pedraza, volleyball; Jessica Lumpkin, track; Christine Wylie, basketball; Scrappy; Mirza Medinic, basketball; Ayano Tanaka, tennis; and Kyle Pearson, track.