Grades first, touchdowns later: Football players preach academics at Reading Super Bowl


Marissa Werner

SUPER DAY: NPHS Football player Kyle Koestler reads to 1st grade students at North Wales Elementary School on Wednesday during the annual Reading Super Bowl.

NORTH WALES- The North Penn football team scored another touchdown on Wednesdaty afternoon, this time the team participating in the annual Reading Super Bowl at North Wales Elementary School. The team helped kids from kindergarten to sixth grade work their imagination by reading books. The Knights got a chance to motivate and answer a large variety of questions. The football players did have some pregame jitters, until the kids started a topic the team was most familiar with, “football.”

“They put me back into the shoes of a kid, they made me realize that I’m who they’re currently looking up to. I’m the person some of these little boys want to be someday, so I have to set examples,” said junior football player, Shamar Edwards.

Each grade was read to by a different Knight and got to hear a story along with seeing a good example for the future. With the Super Bowl this upcoming weekend, students were even more involved with their own football players coming to them.

“I think they get really excited about it, they love having the football players come in and definitely love talking about the Super Bowl. But they also like hearing from an older student and seeing a good example of reading,” said North Wales first grade teacher Jennifer Shotwell.

Not only was it a fun chance for interaction among different aged students, but also a great moment to teach these younger students about their future. The football players helped encourage them to keep up their good grades, and that school always comes before sports.

“You’ve gotta have good grades…you have to read a lot…be a good listener and practice…” various 1st graders said, explaining what they have to do in order to be a successful high school athlete.

Marissa Werner
Ryan Feiser, Dangelo Hill, Kyle Koestler, Anthony Anthony Andrews, Justis Henley, and Shamar Edwards display their reading choices at the Reading Super Bowl on Wednesday.

“I think it’s really good for them to hear about [keeping your grades up]. It always comes up in every question session that I hear students or teachers will ask about keeping your grades up. The football players do such a great job of saying it’s not just about having fun and playing football, it’s about working hard in school. I think for kids, even as little as first and second grade, it’s important for them to hear that working hard in school is important,” said NPSD reading specialist Darian Mckenzie.

With questions about multiple topics, the Knights had a smile, laugh, and answer for everyone. The kids wanted advice about high school and “not dropping the ball,” a sixth-grade student called it. Not only was this a good time for the kids, but also for the players that were surprised about how much younger kids look up to them.

“I enjoyed myself,; the kids were funny, they were filled with questions I wasn’t expecting to be asked. Walking into the classrooms I was intimidated, but I realized I was there once. I knew some middle school kids knew who I was but I never knew small kids in kindergarten would know me. I’m happy I had this experience,” said senior North Penn Knight, Justis Henley.

North Penn Television - Anissa Gardizy

Outside of the questions and the bonding with players, the most important lesson for the kids to get out of reading super bowl would be the reading part. The players coming to read, reiterated the importance of reading.  

“I think it’s awesome. It gets them pumped and excited for sports and the super bowl. Hopefully it drives them more to read and motivate them by bringing together sports and reading,” said senior football player, D’Angelo Hill.

Hill grasped the exact point of why the teachers love the Reading Super Bowl. Having kids watch other kids read is very encouraging and is the most important reason why the football players read to younger students.

“I think the kids really like it and are really excited about it. It’s cool to see the big kids reading because as teachers we are always telling them how important it is to read, but I think it means something different when it comes from another kid,” added McKenzie.