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CSU baseball players promote reading at Boulder Bluff Elementary

Published on Friday, February 7, 2020

CSU players visit Boulder Bluff Elem

BCSD photo / Monica Kreber: Charleston Southern University baseball player Seth Owens reads aloud to Santana Gemini's kindergartners.

Reading a book with no pictures to group of kindergartners may be challenging, but Seth Owens was brave enough to take on the challenge.

Owens is a senior at Charleston Southern University, and a pitcher for the university's baseball team.

Walking into Santana Gemini’s kindergarten class at Boulder Bluff Elementary, he was handed a book literally titled “The Book With No Pictures.” While students gawked at the title, Owens settled into the chair where Gemini would typically sit, and read aloud to the students seated at his feet.

Owens was one of several members of the baseball team who came out to the school Friday afternoon to read to kindergartners and first-graders. This was the last of a four-week stint that involved CSU’s baseball players volunteering to come and read to the children.

“I think it’s awesome being able to go into the school and give back and influence the community,” he said.

After reading to the children, the baseball players open the floor for questions. Owens said he got a lot of different things from what’s his favorite color, to where he is from, to if he has been to Canada.

“You get some crazy questions – everything’s on the table,” he said.

The team had previously reached out to the school to get involved in promoting reading and education within the community.

Boulder Bluff Elementary has had other guests come and read to the students as well; players from the Charleston Stingrays hockey team visited earlier this week, and high school students from Goose Creek High have visited as well.

“I would say we have…exceptionally a lot of people that are willing to come out here, they really want to get involved,” Gemini said.

Gemini coordinated the event.

“Our students look up to them so much and they really…thrive off of seeing them…hearing their story, what they do (and) learning about it," she said.

Gemini said her students get a lot out of it.

“They get to see…an older male or female role model in sports,” she said, adding that these visitors explain to the younger students that they had to work through elementary, middle and high school and college to get to where they are now. “They had to hear that you have to work hard, that you have to take into consideration that education is very important to achieve your goals and your dreams.

This is the first year Charleston Southern University has participated in reading to the school. Gemini said the school will “definitely” keep the program going.

“They have absolutely loved having the players, the players love coming here,” she said.

The college students ranged from 18 to 22 years old. They all wore their baseball jerseys while visiting the school.

Head Coach George Schaefer said having his players involved in the program is a way for the team to give back to the community.

Schaefer said they have had about half the team participate in the last four weeks. It was all voluntary.

“I think it’s an opportunity to…see guys at the college level,” he said, adding, “It’s friendly faces, guys that are willing to interact, guys that have had success both in the classroom and on the athletic field.”

He said the players love it, and walk away from it with a new perspective on a brighter day, and that a a few strikeouts “doesn’t really mean as much when you have a chance to come in here and part of 15 to 20 lives for an hour.”

Monica Kreber