Parkview Elementary Plays Wonderful Book Bus Host

A second grade girl with braids named Terrie bounced up the steps of the bus. With her first step into the miniature mobile library, she saw Derek Fisher and Hasheem Thabeet, and blurted, “Oh my goodness, if I get a picture with one of the Thunder players my dad is going to be so jealous!”

The moment was priceless and the reaction on Fisher and Thabeet’s faces were ones of lightheartedness and amazement for the funny things that kids say. The duo passed out books, bracelets and bookmarks on Tuesday afternoon to 100 Parkview Elementary second graders in attendance at the Rolling Thunder Book Bus, presented by American Fidelity. The students were engaged in choosing a book that suited them and were also so well behaved and polite that it earned praise from Fisher, a father of four himself.

“We get the opportunity to do a handful of these each season, maybe not as many as we’d like considering the games and travel, etc,” Fisher said. “But when you see kids who are obviously being impacted by what they’re taught, being respectful and saying please and thank you, it’s enjoyable.

“As a parent myself, it’s great to see,” Fisher continued. “I just wanted to make sure they knew at Parkview Elementary that they’re doing a great job because the kids were outstanding today.”

Fisher explained just how much he enjoyed the experience and how impressed he was by the students to Parkview’s assistant principal, Michelle Goolsby. The students who stepped on the bus were inquisitive, asking Fisher and Thabeet to help them find books that piqued their varying interests. Thabeet appreciated students at such a young age who were intent on reading about something specific, already cultivating their own interests and hobbies.

For an age group where reading is so crucial to continued growth, the opportunity to be encouraged by Thunder players to pick up a new book was huge.

“This means a lot to our kids and to us,” Goolsby said. “It made their whole life and some of our faculty’s lives.”

“They love to read,” Goolsby continued. “They’re so excited. You can see they’ll never be the same.”

The afternoon session on the Book Bus was coming to a close when all of the sudden, the 100 students began to sound like the 18,203 in Chesapeake Energy Arena each night. Thunder chants erupted from the school parking lot, and the kids swarmed Fisher and Thabeet to thank them for coming to their school. It was a poignant moment for the Thunder duo, who saw first-hand the depth and intensity of support the Thunder has in Oklahoma, even amongst children who were just two years old when the team arrived in Oklahoma City.

“It’s always humbling to see the impact that we can have,” Fisher said. “That’s why not only the organization, but our players also really enjoy getting out and having a chance to have a positive impact on kids and anybody’s day that we possibly can.”

“It’s great that we can influence the community around us,” Thabeet said. “They are there for us, so in times like this we have to be there for them. For us to get a chance to come out here and hang out with the kids and give them something to talk about and give them that joy, is great.”