Tuesday Night Lights on Hillsdale's Football Field

More pictures from the event are in this gallery.

Tuesday Night Lights on Hillsdale’s Football Field

JEROMESVILLE—(October 22, 2019) A crisp fall night. A football field. Bright stadium lights. 

Camp chairs and books on the 50-yard line?

Area residents came together on Hillsdale High School’s football field Tuesday night, Oct. 22, to share the love and importance of reading.

Hillsdale’s Million Words Club, a school group promoting literacy, partnered with the Academic Boosters to host the free family event “Reading Under the Lights.” The event was geared towards grades PreK-5 to create excitement for and model the joy of reading. 

“When planning under the lights we discussed a lot of different ways to go about it, the main discussion being how to get a free book in the hands of every kid that attends,” middle school English teacher Ms. Rebecca Sankoe said. We also wanted to capitalize on our district theme of being better together, so we wanted to include older students as role models.”

High school celebrities from a variety of organizations were on hand to read to or with the younger students. Students could also choose to read to therapy dogs from Caring Therapy Canines.

“I thought, personally, it was a great experience because I like to read to little kids. It just makes me happy that the whole football team can do this stuff for the community,” freshman Hunter Wagner said.

Michelle Bible, Jeromesville, and her third grade son Conner Butler attended the event.

“These are Conner’s heroes. He looks up to them, talks about them,” Bible said. “They made him feel like he was one of them,” she said noting the football players joked with him while reading to him. “I hope the football players keep doing what they’re doing. They’re doing a great job,” Bible said.

“It was cool to read with the kids. It benefited both parties,” senior football player Drew Adams said. “Everybody I’ve talked to afterwards said that they enjoyed it.”

In addition to reading, those in attendance could make a bookmark and participate in a scavenger hunt, earning a free book upon completion. They could also bring a book to swap for another as part of an exchange.

“My girls loved ‘Reading Under the Lights,’” Alyssa Russell, Hayesville, said of her daughters Dakota, 2nd grade, & Hunter, kindergarten, Hillsdale Elementary Students. “We will definitely look forward to it next year!”

“I thought it was a good chance to interact with kids. and I hope they [the school] continue to do it in the future,” senior football player Alex Glass said.

The Million Words Club also tracks the number of words read from June to May by participating students, faculty and staff, administration and community members. Those reaching certain milestones are then awarded a prize, such as  bookmarks, ice cream coupons and t-shirts.

The middle school Photo Journalism class interviews those who reach one million words and writes a short piece on the individuals as a part of their coursework to promote the program.  Check out a few of their submissions which will be posted on the district website at http://www.hillsdale.k12.oh.us/district/million-words-club

High school and elementary school students were reading the book Roller Coaster by Marla Frazee, when one of them came up with the idea to imitate one.

Watch them in action.