Wrightsville principal to sleep on school roofBy PAUL BRAVERMAN
In the morning of Monday, Jan. 7, the York Revolution will launch the 2013 edition of their elementary school reading initiative, “Boomer’s Book Club” presented by Heritage Valley Federal Credit Union. It is a program that has become hugely popular among students all around York and Adams counties since its inception, having reached nearly 50 schools and 20,000 students each of the last two years.
Once again, Wrightsville Elementary School in the Eastern York School District is the program’s opening date, and this year, there is added incentive for the students to read.
Typically, students are asked to read four books outside of their curriculum, attaining incremental prize levels along the way. But Wrightsville Elementary, a participant of the program since day one, has upped the ante for its students in a big way.
Members of the media are invited to attend Monday’s 9 a.m. kick-off assembly at Wrightsville Elementary School, where in front of 420 students, and with the encouragement of Revolution mascot DownTown, a whole new grand prize level will be announced.
Should the students combine as a school to read 2,000 books outside of class as part of the program, principal Don Gillett will sleep on the roof of Wrightsville Elementary beginning the night of the Revs’ season opener on April 18, and lasting every night until the Revs lose a game.
“I want to be known as the Bill Veeck of elementary school principals,” said Gillett, referring to the late Baseball Hall of Fame franchise owner who was known for the innovations that he brought to the Major Leagues.
For Gillett, a lifelong baseball fan who has traveled to see games at ballparks around the country, and who is a regular at Revolution home games at Sovereign Bank Stadium each summer, it was his passion for both baseball and education that drove him to provide the extra incentive for the students.
“Education is a good connector with baseball,” said Gillett. “It’s one of the constants throughout time. There’s always been baseball, and the kids have a good time with it. It’s a way to break up the monotony and to have fun with education. And with today’s society, any time you can give these kids something to have fun with, that’s all that matters.”
Of course, the Revs will do their very best on the field to extend Gillett’s rooftop stay. Manager Mark Mason is planning a visit to Wrightsville Elementary to read to the students and check in before the baseball season begins, and would love nothing more than to keep Gillett roof-bound for as long as possible.
“I don’t know what kind of accommodations he’s going to have up on that roof, but our goal will be to keep him up there for awhile,” said Mason. “I’d love to start the season with a nice, long winning streak and give the kids something to cheer about, and knowing Don, I know he wants the same thing.”
In accordance with the Boomer’s Book Club kick-off assembly, Monday has been made “Wear Your Favorite Jersey Day” at Wrightsville Elementary. During the program, three students who came up with the idea for Gillett to sleep on the school roof as an added reading incentive will be recognized. Those students are Maya Gohn, Eva Cox, and Victoria Zerbe, all from Mrs. Kristen Metzler’s third grade class.
As part of this year’s Boomer’s Book Club program, students keep track of their reading progress on a special bookmark provided by the Revs which they can then use to redeem their prizes.
Students who read one book will receive a free ticket courtesy of Brain Balance to a Revs home game on any of four special Boomer’s Book Club dates during the 2013 season (April 21, May 8, June 5, or June 19). Those who read two books receive a free Kids Meal courtesy of Community Courier to go with their ticket. A third book wins students limited-edition York Revolution CheerStix courtesy of WellSpan Health in addition to the first two prizes, and students who read four books receive an exclusive Boomer’s Book Club drawstring bag courtesy of Heritage Valley Federal Credit Union to go with everything else.
“I really appreciate what the Revs do with making reading and education fun for the students,” said Gillett. “It’s wonderful to have this team in our community, and to see how much they truly care about our kids and making the learning environment that much better.”
The program is named after Revolution team dog Boomer who makes regular appearances along with DownTown at school assemblies all over the county.