Before the summer began, the New England Patriots and KP Middle School had a special assembly to challenge their students to read over 3,000 books before the end of the summer. With school back in session, the teachers and students of KPMS were back in the gymnasium where that challenge was made to hear that not only did they reach their goal, but the students of KPMS went beyond their goal, reading 3,289 book.
"We and the New England Patriots gave you the challenge. You seized the moment, you met the challenge. I speak on behalf on all your teachers and your parents, we are so proud of you,” language arts teacher Nancy Fischer told the students.
The challenge is part of the team’s “Read Between the Lines" program to encourage kids to read during the summer break. While punter Zoltan Mesko and linebacker Jeff Tarpinian were congratulating students in Norfolk, Ras-I Dowling was down the road at the Ahern School in Foxborough doing the same thing.
"I just want to say that it’s awesome that you guys succeeded and not only reached 3,000 but well over 3,000. I think that’s just awesome,” Tarpinian told a KP Middle School gymnasium packed with seventh and eight graders.
Fluent in five languages, Mesko knows first hand the importance of reading whenever you can. When he learned English, Mesko used books and other reading sources to help get a better grasp on the language.
”I’m a big visual learner so I can remember more through reading and kind of pride myself on my spelling,” Mesko said. “When I started learning English I put on closed captions on the TV and that helped me kinda grasp the spelling of words and how they are pronounced.”
When he isn’t on the field working on punts, Mesko can be seen with a book. During the assembly, Mesko mentioned that he recently finished reading the Hunger Games, to the delight of many in the gymnasium.
Tarpinian just finished a non-fiction book called Unbroken about a World War II pilot.
“Anything you can get something out of I like to read.,” Tarpinian said.
After the players spoke, the students who read the most books and a few more students who were picked in a raffle got the chance to meet the players and have their photos taken with them.
With the school reaching their reading goals, the school and the players were encouraged by the idea that the middle school students were not only reading but seemed to enjoy reading and would continue to in the future.
“At this level they should definitely be reading and more so for enjoyment,” Mesko said after the assembly. “It doesn't has to be something that’s assigned to you. If you’d like to read a magazine, pick up a magazine, a comic book, anything that will kind of get your brain activated and involved and it will for sure correlate to better grades.”