Read Across America, Southern Style

Under bright sunny skies, NEA’s Read Across America Cat-a-Van Tour 3 rolled south, beginning its tour in Columbia, South Carolina to the delight of hundreds of elementary students.

The tour began at Bradley Elementary School with students and teachers lining the school’s long driveway and the school band playing in the background. The Cat-a-Van arrived, accompanied by a Richland County Sheriff Department escort and VIP readers.

Inside Bradley Elementary, more than 300 students received greetings from Richland County Education Association President Christi Lewis and South Carolina Education Association President Jackie Hicks. The students listened and laughed as NEA Executive Committee member Earl Wiman offered a rousing rendition of Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham. Renaissance Dental Account Executive Andy Berli led the students in reciting the Read Across America reading oath and presented Bradley Principal Karis Mazyck and staff with a check for $500 for the school library.

“This is such a wonderful treat for students and staff said Stephanie M. Johnson, second grade teacher and Bradley’s Read Across America Committee Chair, who noted the school spent the previous week on a host of reading activities. “The generous check for our school library and gift bags for our students were great reward.

The Cat-a-Van’s second stop featured students and staff at Joseph Keels Elementary School in true storybook form, dressing as a variety of characters and parading into the school cafeteria. Thing 1 and Thing 2 joined the Cat-in-the Hat in song and dance before the main program featuring NEA Executive Committee member Earl Wiman’s animated Green Eggs and Ham and Renaissance Executive Andy Berli’s tooth-brushing and oral health advice. Students cheered and waved their hats at the announcement of $500 in school library funds and the gift bag donations.

“What this tour accomplished was so important,” said RCEA President Christi Lewis. “In addition to the fun and excitement of the moment, our members learned how the local, state, and national work together to help them be successful in and outside of the classroom.”

Photo: Brett Flashnick/NEA