Britt chose to make an impact with his story, selecting a book that would teach an important lesson to the fourth graders.
“The book that I read was about Roy Riegels,” Britt said, “and it was about a football player who ran the wrong way.”
As he read "The Day Roy Riegels Ran the Wrong Way," by Dan Gutman, Britt turned and showed each illustration to the children. At the end, the senior asked the kids what they learned. A sea of small hands waved in the air, hoping the UNC football player would call on them. Each answer varied, but all had the same underlying message.
“The moral of the story was you’re going to make mistakes in life, but it’s about how you respond to those mistakes," Britt said. "I really thought it was a good message for the kids.”
After asking the students questions and answering a few of his own, Britt left the classroom with a parting gift. Each Tar Heel left behind a selection of scholastic books for the classroom and a “Read Like a Champion” poster for each student. The books and posters were donated by Duke Energy.
A total of 65 UNC student-athletes participated in the reading day, representing 20 teams. Different Tar Heels have read to local schools throughout the year, but Wednesday’s event was the largest and most widespread effort ever concentrated on a single day.
“It was a great experience,” Britt said. “I remember when I was in elementary school, and it was just kids from my high school who played sports who I looked up to. They were figures in the community, and I really enjoyed listening to them, so it really means a lot to be able to be in the position to go back and talk to the kids and give back to the community.”
At the end of the reading day, almost everyone took home a lesson. In the Estes Hills Elementary fourth grade classroom, students learned from Britt that mistakes happen, but you learn from them. As for the athletes, they walked away learning how big of an impact they have on the community.
“I just learned that these kids really appreciate us and they really look up to us,” Britt said. “For us to set the right example, it’s really important. They are the future.”
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