EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 23, 2013

Students at Sandown North are ready to read

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — SANDOWN – The New Hampshire Fisher Cats visited Sandown North Elementary School recently to introduce the school to a special reading program.

The Fisher Cats and their mascot, Fungo, presented students with the Fisher Cats Reading Challenge, presented by the Community College System of New Hampshire. Under the free program, these students will be rewarded for increasing their reading beyond the regular school curriculum.

“This is a fun way to motivate and reward these students with our partners at the Community College System of New Hampshire,” said Fisher Cats president Rick Brenner. “Each year, this program has reached more students and schools, and we hope this year’s participants have fun, while also understanding the long-term benefits of strong reading skills.”

During the assembly, Fungo, assisted by Fisher Cats staff members, expressed his love of reading while laying out his challenge. When a student reads an additional five books beyond their usual school assignments, they will earn a pair of tickets to a Fisher Cats Reading Challenge Night, scheduled in 2013 at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, courtesy of CCSNH.

The special assembly, which also featured healthy eating tips and interactive games with the students, was one of approximately 40 that the Fisher Cats will make before the end of January.

By the end of the school year, more than 55,000 students in 150 schools across New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts will have the opportunity to complete the challenge. This figure will raise the program’s participation to more than 200,000 students since 2007.

“New Hampshire’s community colleges are proud of the students at Sandown North Elementary School,” said Shannon Reid, CCSNH director of communications. “Literacy is a key element of academic achievement, increasing children’s confidence and making them better communicators as they grow. We look forward to celebrating with the students from Sandown at the ballpark in 2013.”

In addition to the individual challenge, students will represent their school in a special team competition for the third straight year. Through a donation from the Fisher Cats Foundation, the school with the highest percentage of students who complete the Reading Challenge will win a $3,000 grand prize. Two additional schools with the next highest percentage of completion will each win $1,000 prizes.

Last year, the Reading Challenge reached 55,000 students in nearly 150 schools, with 10 schools generating 100-percent participation. Since its inception in 2007, more than 150,000 students have learned the importance of reading through the Fisher Cats and CCSNH.

Since 2007, the Fisher Cats and the Fisher Cats Foundation have generated nearly $2 million in monetary and in-kind donations to more than 3,000 nonprofit organizations. In that time, the Fisher Cats Foundation has awarded $170,000 in scholarships awards to college-bound high school seniors.

Opening day at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium is April 4, against the Reading Fightin Phils.