Read Across America: UH Hilo Vulcan athletes visit local elementary schools to promote reading

The reading excursion was part of a nationwide initiative held annually on March 2, the birthday of celebrated children’s books author Dr. Seuss.

By Susan Enright.

Basketball Vulcan Alia Alvarez wears a Dr. Seuss striped top hat and reads to school children gathered around her.
Basketball Vulcan Alia Alvarez reads to students at Hilo Union Elementary. Courtesy photos, click to enlarge.


Athletes from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo visited several Hawaiʻi Island elementary schools today to participate in the National Education Association’s annual Read Across America program. The reading excursion was part of a nationwide initiative held each year on March 2, the birthday of celebrated children’s books author Dr. Seuss.

“What a great day celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday and participating in the Read Across America Day,” says Patrick Guillen, director of UH Hilo Athletics. “We shared the fun of reading through Dr. Seuss and talked about valuable life-skill lessons that our keiki need to learn in order to excel.”

He adds, “I am proud of our students and staff for serving as positive role models for our keiki. Our keiki are our future and it is vital that we reach them consistently and support as much as we can.”

Guillen says UH Hilo Athletics had almost 60 student-athletes and coaches out at seven different elementary schools reading to over 1,800 children.

The Vulcan teams visited the following schools in the Hilo District:

  • Hilo Union (women’s basketball)
  • Waiakea Elementary (men’s golf/volleyball)
  • Keaukaha Elementary (men’s basketball)
  • Kea’au Elementary (cross country)
  • Kalanianaole Elementary (Campus & Community Services/cheer squad)
  • Haaheo Elementary (men’s and women’s soccer)
  • Kaumana Elementary (softball)

“We are grateful to the principals, vice-principals, teachers and staff at Kaumana, Hilo Union, Waiakea, Keaukaha, Keaʻau, Kalanianaole, and Haʻaheo elementary schools that assisted in the coordination of this wonderful day,” says Guillen. “Mahalo.”

Asia Smith holds up a book for school children to see.
Vulcan basketball player Asia Smith holds up Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham for children at Hilo Union Elementary School. Two more photos below of Smith with students.


Guillen says it’s a great honor for UH Hilo to participate in the special day.

“It is also an opportunity for us to talk about the importance of education, staying in school and developing important life-skills,” he says.

Studies show motivating children to read is an important factor in student achievement and creating lifelong successful readers. The research shows children who are motivated and spend more time reading do better in school.

More photos, click to enlarge:


This story has been updated with additional quotations and more photos.

About the writer of this story: Susan Enright is a public information specialist for the Office of the Chancellor and editor of UH Hilo Stories. She received her bachelor of arts in English and certificate in women’s studies from UH Hilo.