Kids get psyched to read at library pep rally


By Terri Flagg - [email protected]



About 150 children and adults gathered at the Blackmon Amphitheater on Thursday for a pep rally hosted by the Mount Airy Public Library. In keeping with the summer reading program sports and fitness theme, the pep rally featured the Mount Airy High School Band and two Carolina Panther cheerleaders.


Terri Flagg | The News

Students who won books through a raffle at the Mount Airy Public Library pep rally pose with two Carolina Panther cheerleaders who attended the event.


Terri Flagg | The News

Carolina Panther cheerleaders Arianna and Kaitlin sign autographs at a Mount Airy Public Library sports and fitness themed summer reading program pep rally held Thursday at the Blackmon Amphitheater.


Terri Flagg | The News

Assisted by Barry VanHoy, left, and Captain Alan Freeman, Mount Airy Police Chief Dale Watson hands a hot dog to a child at a Mount Airy Public Library sports and fitness themed summer reading program pep rally held Thursday at the Blackmon Amphitheater.


Terri Flagg | The News

Lisa Goodin, outgoing president of the Woman's League of Mount Airy, hands out popcorn at a Mount Airy Public Library sports and fitness themed summer reading program pep rally held Thursday at the Blackmon Amphitheater. The woman's league provided and served drinks and popcorn at the event.


Terri Flagg | The News

School librarians Tonya Fletcher, left, Franklin Elementary and Robin Simmons, of Cedar Ridge, send up a cheer at a Mount Airy Library pep rally held Thursday to kick off summer reading.


Terri Flagg | The News

A pep rally held Thursday to kick off summer reading at the Mount Airy Public Library was a fitting way to launch a season full of wellness, fitness and sports-themed programming.

With a marching band, professional cheerleaders and prizes, it also tied into one of reading’s finest features: fun.

“Especially during summer, reading should be fun,” said Pat Gwyn, branch librarian. “As long as they’re reading something that interests them, that appeals to them, it benefits them.”

About 150 children and adults gathered in the Blackmon Amphitheater for the pep rally, which began with more than 80 kids clamoring for tickets to win books.

After the Mount Airy High School band played a tune, organizer Angela Llewellyn took the stage and introduced the key component to any pep rally, cheerleaders.

The two Carolina Panthers TopCats cheerleaders spoke briefly about their background.

Kaitlin, a special education teacher, and Annalise, a dance teacher, later indicated their contract prevented them from sharing their last names.

When asked to share their favorite books with the audience, Kaitlin said she enjoys books by Nicholas Sparks.

“I’m a fan of some Dr. Seuss books,” said Annalise, who also spoke of her experience cheering at Superbowl 50.

“It felt like a dream, of course,” she said. “I’m hoping we go back again.”

The cheerleaders were a big draw for the event, and signed plenty of autographs on free posters after the rally.

Pam Alderman said of her 5-year-old great-niece Chloe Mayes, “I got her out of daycare today because she just had to see the Panther cheerleaders.”

Llewellyn also did some cheerleading of her own.

“Read lots this summer,” she said to the audience, noting that reading helps improve test scores. “The more you read, the better.”

Kids enrolled in the summer reading program log the book titles and minutes spent reading on a form to be submitted at the end of the season.

That, and associated events including sports-themed movie series, plays and storytelling, help keep kids engaged with reading while they’re out of school.

“It’s important they don’t lose ground,” Llewellyn said.

Ten-year-old Savannah Allen said she had already logged her first summer book, “Hatchet,” a 1987 Newbery Honor-winning young-adult wilderness survival novel written by Gary Paulson.

“I love to read,” and enjoyed the pep rally, she said. “I really did.”

Allen was excited about her autographed poster from the TopCat cheerleaders.

“I’m probably going to hang it up in my room and look at it every night,” she said.

The Woman’s League of Mount Airy provided and served drinks and popcorn, and representatives from the Mount Airy Police Department grilled up hot dogs for the group.

Lewellyn thanked those organizations as well as the Mount Airy High School band and leader and two school librarians Tonya Fletcher, of Franklin Elementary, and Robin Simmons, of Cedar Ridge Elementary, who showed up with pompoms in hand.

“I’m very appreciative of everyone who helped me out today, very, very grateful,” Llewellyn said, leaning into another sports related analogy.

“We’re teammates,” she said. “We have to work together to keep the kids reading.”

About 150 children and adults gathered at the Blackmon Amphitheater on Thursday for a pep rally hosted by the Mount Airy Public Library. In keeping with the summer reading program sports and fitness theme, the pep rally featured the Mount Airy High School Band and two Carolina Panther cheerleaders.
http://mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_160623_LibraryPepRally-R1.jpgAbout 150 children and adults gathered at the Blackmon Amphitheater on Thursday for a pep rally hosted by the Mount Airy Public Library. In keeping with the summer reading program sports and fitness theme, the pep rally featured the Mount Airy High School Band and two Carolina Panther cheerleaders. Terri Flagg | The News

Students who won books through a raffle at the Mount Airy Public Library pep rally pose with two Carolina Panther cheerleaders who attended the event.
http://mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_160623_LibraryPepRally-R2.jpgStudents who won books through a raffle at the Mount Airy Public Library pep rally pose with two Carolina Panther cheerleaders who attended the event. Terri Flagg | The News

Carolina Panther cheerleaders Arianna and Kaitlin sign autographs at a Mount Airy Public Library sports and fitness themed summer reading program pep rally held Thursday at the Blackmon Amphitheater.
http://mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_160623_LibraryPepRally-R3.jpgCarolina Panther cheerleaders Arianna and Kaitlin sign autographs at a Mount Airy Public Library sports and fitness themed summer reading program pep rally held Thursday at the Blackmon Amphitheater. Terri Flagg | The News

Assisted by Barry VanHoy, left, and Captain Alan Freeman, Mount Airy Police Chief Dale Watson hands a hot dog to a child at a Mount Airy Public Library sports and fitness themed summer reading program pep rally held Thursday at the Blackmon Amphitheater.
http://mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_160623_LibraryPepRally-R4.jpgAssisted by Barry VanHoy, left, and Captain Alan Freeman, Mount Airy Police Chief Dale Watson hands a hot dog to a child at a Mount Airy Public Library sports and fitness themed summer reading program pep rally held Thursday at the Blackmon Amphitheater. Terri Flagg | The News

Lisa Goodin, outgoing president of the Woman’s League of Mount Airy, hands out popcorn at a Mount Airy Public Library sports and fitness themed summer reading program pep rally held Thursday at the Blackmon Amphitheater. The woman’s league provided and served drinks and popcorn at the event.
http://mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_160623_LibraryPepRally-R5.jpgLisa Goodin, outgoing president of the Woman’s League of Mount Airy, hands out popcorn at a Mount Airy Public Library sports and fitness themed summer reading program pep rally held Thursday at the Blackmon Amphitheater. The woman’s league provided and served drinks and popcorn at the event. Terri Flagg | The News

School librarians Tonya Fletcher, left, Franklin Elementary and Robin Simmons, of Cedar Ridge, send up a cheer at a Mount Airy Library pep rally held Thursday to kick off summer reading.
http://mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_160623_LibraryPepRally-R6.jpgSchool librarians Tonya Fletcher, left, Franklin Elementary and Robin Simmons, of Cedar Ridge, send up a cheer at a Mount Airy Library pep rally held Thursday to kick off summer reading. Terri Flagg | The News

By Terri Flagg

[email protected]

Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.

Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.

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