Reading Superbowl XV another successful chapter

The North Penn Knights pose for a picture at Gwynedd Square Elementary, one of the 13 schools where they read to elementary schoolers for the 15th year in a row.

TOWAMENCIN- Since 2005, the North Penn Knights Football team has maintained the tradition of traveling to elementary schools across the district and reading to kids. Despite two consecutive two hour delays last week, the Knights continued to give back to the community as they celebrated fifteen years of the Reading Super Bowl.

“[The first year] we had about thirty boys go out to maybe six of the elementary schools. So the first year it was not everybody, but now it is in all thirteen elementary schools and [the football players] read to about 5,600- 5,700 kids,” explained Mrs. Cheryl Neubert, NPHS reading teacher and coordinator of the event.

Supporting literacy among young kids is a main reason the team travels across the community, but the event also provides the team with the opportunity of being role models and answering any questions the kids have about entering the high school.

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Students at the elementary schools ask questions as the Knights read to them.

“They get questions about football, they get the silly questions of “were you in the super bowl last year” because the kids are just so little and they don’t understand…Kids ask questions about the high school and one of the kids asked “do they have gluten free options in the cafeteria,” laughed Neubert.

Many students who grew up in the North Penn School District remember how much they enjoyed the football players visiting them. Having the opportunity to give that same joy is what motivates the team.

“Growing up I always thought it was one of the coolest things to have these big football players that everyone idolized come and read to us. When I first got the opportunity to go and read to the kids, I knew I had to go. I had to make sure I gave them the same, if not better, experience that older players had given me,” explained senior football player Eric Rowe.

The football players are seen as heroes in the eyes of elementary school kids. Having the “big kids” visit them is a momentous occasion.

I also thought it was very important to answer any questions [the kids] had. Whether it was the older kids asking about middle school or high school, or the younger kids asking about fifth and sixth grade. Showing them that someone is here to help them and look out for them in the community is another big point of emphasis for me,” added Rowe.  

Rowe remembers NFL Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus reading to his class when he played for North Penn football at A. M. Kulp Elementary. Rowe instantly connected with McManus.

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Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus read to NPHS football player Eric Rowe when he was a first grader. Now, Rowe and the rest of the Knights carry on the tradition of reading to elementary schoolers.

“When I was in first grade, Brandon came to my class to read and I immediately idolized him. Then later on, we had to write thank you cards to him…I mentioned how much I looked up to him and how I wanted to be just like him. The next year, he came to my class again and gave me a signed football, and I thought it was one of the coolest things I had ever received,” explained Rowe.

The annual event is something the football team looks forward to every year. It is a way to bring the community together through the shared love of football and reading.

“For the guys that go out, you know, even if they’re a little scared or nervous to go out initially, they come back and inevitably they are like “we get to do it again next year right?” said Neubert.