Photos by Maya Pottiger
On Friday, April 12, fourth-graders at Belvedere Elementary School had a special assembly out on the baseball field.
During the assembly, fourth-grader Annie Mejia was surprised by Bowie Baysox mascot Louie, who helped share the news that she won the team's jersey design contest. Bowie Baysox players, as well as Louie, will wear Annie's jersey for five games to celebrate reading. After those five games are over, the jerseys will be auctioned off, and a portion of the proceeds will go back to Belvedere Elementary.
"We have a culture of literacy throughout the building to encourage the love of reading," said Belvedere reading teacher Tricia Callender, who organized the event. "This is a great way to get kids to read, and it was our reading incentive for March."
Belvedere has participated in the Read & Hit a Home Run Reading Program with the Baysox previously, but this is the first time a student has won the jersey design contest. With the program, any student who reads four books during the given time period is awarded two free tickets to a Baysox game.
The Educational Systems Federal Credit Union helps sponsor the program. Victoria Samuels, the vice president of community relations for ESFC, was at Belvedere to present Annie with a $100 Visa gift card and a certificate.
"This program is adding fun to the base of literacy," Samuels said. "We know how important these fundamental things are. The better kids are at reading, the better they'll be at understanding instructions and being financially literate."
As part of the surprise, Annie's parents Jenelle and Alfonso Mejia were in attendance.