TMCnet News

USC mascot visits students to promote literacy program
[January 10, 2009]

USC mascot visits students to promote literacy program

(Aiken Standard Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jan. 10--Cocky, the University of South Carolina mascot, likes to read with his friends.

That's the message he and a group of USC classmates gave to kids at J.D. Lever and Byrd elementary school during visits from "Cocky's Reading Express" on Friday.

At both schools, the college students read books to the children with much joy and enthusiasm. Cocky then appeared, to the delight of the kids, helping two of his college friends read books. Mary Ann Hinson, Lever's media specialist, smiled with pleasure as the kids listened intently to the stories and laughed at Cocky's antics.

"The children are just thrilled," said Hinson, "and it's wonderful that these young people are involved. That's the best part for me, seeing the next generation of young adults come along and be excited about helping our students see how important and fun reading is."

Cocky's Reading Express began about four years ago, said Ellen Hinrichs, director of the S.C. Center for Children's Books & Literacy on the USC campus. All of the undergraduate volunteers are student government leaders in collaboration with the university's School of Library and Information Science.

The literacy initiative project buys books through Scholastic's Inc.

"Our volunteers bring all the children a book they can take home and share with their families," Hinrichs said.

Jonathan Carey, a USC sophomore, read a book to the kids at Lever then left the room. The children didn't notice that Cocky soon arrived, but Carey mysteriously never returned.

Ever since he was in elementary school, Carey had a goal of becoming a teacher. He's majoring in middle level math and science at USC.

"That's the right age," he said. "I'm very energetic and love being a kid. With middle school students, you're a kid every day."

The elementary children liked Carey, too, both as himself and as Cocky.

Contact Rob Novit at [email protected]

To see more of the Aiken Standard or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to

Copyright (c) 2009, Aiken Standard, S.C.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
For reprints, email [email protected], call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.

[ Back To's Homepage ]