Former NFL player speaks to middle schoolers about the importance of reading

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Monday, February 11, 2013 9:51 pm | Updated: 9:02 pm, Tue Feb 26, 2013.

SARASOTA - Reading is fundamental. That was a big ad campaign back in the 70's, but it still holds true today. One former NFL player from the Suncoast returned to hammer that point home to students at Booker Middle School.

Chris Hannon played quarterback at Riverview High School before catching passes in college and the NFL. Now he returns to Booker Middle School to help show those potential athletes that education must come first.

"My first message to them is you need to do well academically to pursue those goals, and in order to do so, you need to be able to read,” says assistant principal Derek Jenkins.

Hannon also acted as one of the celebrity judges for the monthly Chili Throwdown held at the middle school to help team-building amongst the teachers. But it is with the students that Hannon's presence makes the most difference. "It feels great because he'll tell us how it has been and what it takes to make it in the NFL," says student Tyrieke Blakeley.

Hannon knows that he has cache with the younger, aspiring athletes, and he uses that to help him get through to them. "First off is, I have the experience. I have been to where they want to go and where they want to be at. I played NCAA ball and in the NFL. That is where they want to go."

The middle school has been stepping up their interactive programs in the past few years, and Jenkins is living proof that it is not how you start, but where you finish. "I talk to them all the time about doing their best. And they can do it. I was in a remedial reading program myself in middle school and I know what hard work can do. It can get them out of the class, and open the doors they are looking for, in the end."

The celebrity reading, and judging of the Chili Showdown are just a couple of the innovations at Booker Middle. They also hold hat-and-jersey days for the staff and students, as well as student-staff game days to build school spirit.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
  • 2 Don't Threaten or Abuse. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. AND PLEASE TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
  • 3 Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
  • 4 Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 5 Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 6 Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Welcome to the discussion.

Right Now

weather

Today

weather
73°
Details

Tomorrow

weather
75°
Details

Today

weather
75°
Details

Today

weather
75°
Details

SUBMIT PHOTOS & VIDEOS | VIEW ALL PHOTOS & VIDEOS

Send your photos & videos to Pix@MySuncoast.com and you could be featured on ABC 7 & our website.