Reading Feat Brings Assembly, Special Guest

EDMOND -- More than 700 students at Orvis Risner Elementary School filed into the gym and sat in anticipation of a Friday morning assembly they knew little about. Close by in an adjoining office, Rumble the Bison quietly waited for his cue to surprise the children.

The Thunder was on campus. Team officials were on hand to present an award to second-grader Catch Davidson, who had won top honors in the Thunder Reading Challenge, a program presented by American Fidelity Assurance Company to improve reading skills and literacy.

Davidson humbly accepted his certificate in front of his peers. Over the past six months, he had read nearly 39,500 minutes, an average of 3.5 hours a day.

“Congratulations Catch,” announced Wyjuana Montgomery, Community Relations Manager for the Thunder. “The Thunder is very proud of your achievement and one person in particular wanted to show you in person.”

Immediately, sirens and streamers flooded the gym – to be followed by the kids screaming with excitement. Rumble the Bison arrived on the scene, and he took full advantage of the attention.

Davidson had not expected the special guest.

“I thought something was up, but didn’t have a clue about all this,” he confessed.

Rumble presented Davidson will more prizes, including an autographed Kevin Durant jersey and a $100 Barnes & Noble gift card. Afterwards, Rumble performed a magic trick for the audience and concluded the assembly by choosing students for Thunder relay races.

Davidson’s teacher, Carol Stolfa, praised her student’s love of reading.

“That’s just all he does,” she said. “Every minute of the day when he’s not working on an assignment, or once he finishes, he’s got his nose in a book.”

The Thunder Reading Challenge drew the participation of 98 schools and 8,995 students throughout the Oklahoma City metro area.

About the Thunder Reading Challenge
The program is part of the Thunder Read to Achieve campaign, presented by American Fidelity Assurance Company. Under the Reading Challenge, participating students between kindergarten and third grade were required to chart the number of minutes they spent reading between November of 2009 and April of this year. Those records, in turn, were submitted to teachers who then notified the Thunder Community Relations Department about the kids who read the most each month. Nearly 750 Thunder-branded prizes were distributed monthly to top readers in each grade of each participating school.

Vicki Guerra is the Manager of Corporate Communications for the Thunder.