Shell, New Orleans Pelicans team up for reading rally (4/15/14)

The New Orleans Pelicans and Shell treated more than 280 students from Pittman Elementary School to an afternoon of fun Tuesday with some educational and life lessons mixed in.

Shell and the Pelicans staged a reading rally at the Saints’ indoor practice facility to reward the participating students for their great behavior in the classroom. The emphasis of the event, emceed by Pelicans forward-center Jason Smith and the third of our rallies sponsored by Shell, was on how important reading is now and will be in the students’ future.

“You can’t achieve anything in life unless you get the basic skills,” said Qi Wiggins, Upstream Americas communications business advisor for Shell and a main participant in Tuesday’s event.

“Reading is awesome,” said Smith, who told the students that his favorite book series growing up was “Goosebumps.”

But the highlight of the event for the students was participating in the seven reading rally stations which were manned by Shell volunteers, Pelican employees and eight members of the Pelicans. In addition to Smith, Alexis Ajinca, Luke Babbitt, Jrue Holiday, Anthony Morrow, Brian Roberts, Austin Rivers and Jeff Withey all took the afternoon to spend time with the students.

There was a footwork ladder, an antonym relay, a photo station where students could get pictures made with two members of the Pelicans Dance Team, a pop a shot, a book fair station where each student was able to select a book for their home library, and vertical jump and chest pass stations, both manned by the players.

Wiggins said Shell is involved with the Pelicans Reading Rally and other events, like the Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell, as part of its commitment to the community.

“We are committed to cultural responsibility and heritage,” Wiggins told the students.