Ticket to Reading Rewards

Roy Willams and RMS

Coach Roy Williams and the Rolesville middle school students who participated in the reading program.
Photo by Lisa Brown

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Rolesville Middle School hosted the wrap up of the Ticket to Reading Rewards (TTRR) Program sponsored by General Parts Interna- tional/(GPI)/Carquest and the National Asso- ciation of Basketball Coaches. The program’s primary purpose is to encourage middle school students to read.

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Nationally the program boasts that students have read upwards of 4 million books. Roles- ville Middle School, one of 150 schools par- ticipating, has read more than 40,000 books in the three years.

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Deidre Lassiter, RMS Principal, challenged the students with first lines of popular books. Hands shot up and students called out the names with enthusiasm and excitement. It’s clear the program is working for this group who may not need extra motivation to read. Students were given such incentives as ice cream parties, water bottles, and key chains, and books all of which were funded locally by GPI.

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The highlight of the rally may have been coach Roy Williams who was in attendance to both motivate and congratulate the group. Coach Williams, known for his success as coach for the University of North Carolina Tarheels basketball team, is certainly full of energy and encouragement.

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Coach Williams is himself an avid reader making it a part of his every day life even in the hectic basketball season. He told the stu- dent it’s the last thing he does before going to bed and enjoys reading westerns, history, and motivational books. A quote he once heard served as motivation to him and he passed it along to the students: “You never learn any- thing by talking.” He reminded the students to continue reading and listening.

While he encouraged the students to con- tinue reading he also challenged them to pur- sue what they love to do. Coach Williams told the story of being offered an engineering scholarship while in high school. He went to school to tell his beloved math teacher that he would not be accepting it. He knew what he loved and really wanted was to be a basket- ball coach. Many likely thought the decision was ill-informed and silly but time has shown that his pursuit of what he loved to be the best decision.

The Middle schools participating in the TTRR challenge were East Garner Magnet, Easy Wake, Ligon Magnet, Longview, Moore Square, River Oaks, Rolesville, West Lake, West Millbrook, and Zebulon Magnet. Of these, 3 students from each of the ten schools were chosen as the top readers, receiving a certificate, trophy, t-shirt and a bag. The best prize of all may have been the personal pic- ture each took with Coach Williams.

GPI/Carquest has recently been sold and will no longer participate as a sponsor. Coach Williams assured the crowd that they will find a way to continue on and encourage middle school students to read independently and keep the habit throughout their lifetime as he has. As he states, “I read because I know it’s good for me”