There was only one rule for the second graders at Martin Luther King Elementary before they were allowed to leave the Rolling Thunder Book Bus.
Guarding the entry way into the bus was Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari and guard Chris Paul ready to dish out Thunder wristbands upon exiting. However, Paul had one minor stipulation before anyone could get a wristband: he needed to hear them say, ‘Go Thunder’ and they had to say it like they meant it.
One by one, ‘Go Thunders!’ would echo out from the book bus followed by the sound of quick footsteps as a beaming second grader skipped out of the bus clutching an arm full of brand-new reads.
Paul chuckled as he sat at the front of the bus and looked over to his teammate sitting next to him, “It’s always funny how kids will put an ‘s’ on it all the time.”
Before the Book Bus arrived, the students were treated to a Reading Timeout with Thunder broadcast analyst Michael Cage. In honor of the upcoming MLK holiday, and the school bearing the name of the great civil rights activist, the book of choice was Be a King by Carole Boston Weatherford.
All eyes were locked on Cage as he navigated his way through the story while peppering in valuable life lessons and experiences throughout the read-a-loud. For instance, Cage was six years old when King was assassinated. Even more, he lived only 10 miles from the spot where he was killed in Memphis, Tennessee.
“It’s always nice when we have visitors who can come in and share their experiences and backgrounds and really connect it and make it meaningful for kids,” said Jessica Johnson, assistant principle at Martin Luther King Elementary.
Among the meaningful aspects of the day, each second grader also received their own copy of Be a King when they boarded the Book Bus.
“It’s really nice. Especially to combine the two and trying to teach kids how important it is to read and be able to find out as much information as possible,” said Paul. “Also allowing them to be educated about Martin Luther King and how important he was not only to the African American community but what he meant to everybody in this country as a whole.”
As the only school in Oklahoma City to bear the name of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the upcoming holiday holds a special significance to the students and faculty within its halls. For that reason, Thursday’s events oozed with value and meaning. Not only were they treated to a few prominent Thunder faces, but they learned a little bit while they were at it.
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