Over the last decade, the Princeton Varsity Club has continued its commitment to service through “Reading with the Tigers” – a program where student-athletes from a variety of Princeton’s 38 teams visit elementary schools to share stories both on and off the pages of their favorite children’s books.
As the Tigers continued to reintegrate into the community this school year, excitement for this highly anticipated program was certainly felt. On November 18th, 60 athletes representing 16 varsity teams participated in the program – marking the largest turnout in program history. Throughout the year, the program experienced more record-breaking success, bringing 200 athletes into 100 classrooms at the Community Park, Johnson Park, Littlebrook, and Riverside elementary schools in Princeton.
“I enjoyed Reading with the Tigers and connecting with a surrounding area of Princeton. I think this is an amazing way to engage with the community and build our connection with local residents.” recounted Malik Pinto ’24 of the Princeton men’s soccer team. “It means a lot to me to do these types of things because I remember being one of those kids in the classroom and I always enjoyed when we had college visitors!”
Reading with the Tigers also traveled to Trenton, NJ where the program continued its longstanding partnership with Crosby Copeland Elementary – a Title I school located in the inner city. During the fall student-athletes donned their best Halloween costumes to the school for a special spooky edition of the program and read classics like Froggy’s Halloween and How to Catch a Witch. Then in the spring more Tigers returned for an end of the year celebration where they played fun games and brought new stories to life for the children.
“Reading with the Tigers is a longstanding program of the Princeton Varsity Club. We love the opportunity to get our student-athletes off campus to interact with the local community and the local schools. In just the past month we read to five different schools between Trenton and Princeton, and it really just goes a long way in emphasizing our mission of education through athletics.” said Associate Director of Athletics Advancement and Princeton Varsity Club Brendan Van Ackeren.
Click here to view photos from the fall semester and spring semester readings, as well as a recent highlight video of the program.