Friday, March 7, 2014

Wilmington Blue Rocks and First Book Celebrate Reading Success in Chester

The Blue Rocks, Delaware Education Association, First Book, The Chester Fund for Education and the Arts (TCF), and its model school, The Chester Charter School for the Arts (CCSA), celebrated CCSA student achievement in literacy on Friday, March 7th with a visit from Rocky Bluewinkle, the Blue Rocks’ moose mascot. The visit concluded with the first book give-away sponsored by First Book at the Chester Charter School for the Arts, a K-7 public charter school committed to excellence in literacy and literacy in the arts.

Carol Hill, Senior Vice President of TCF notes, “This partnership illustrates diverse commitment to improving educational outcomes in Chester and a renewed interest in literacy.” The Blue Rocks, Wilmington’s minor league baseball team, and the Delaware State Education Association sponsored “Rocky's Reading Challenge,” a program designed to inspire students to read ten books in six weeks. If a student accomplished this goal, he or she would receive 2 free tickets to a Blue Rocks game. CCSA students rose to the challenge.

First grade teacher Mindy Nguyen notes, “In a class of 25 young readers, 23 of my students, 92% of the class, exceeded Rocky’s expectations, reading 10 books a week. Over the course of six weeks, CCSA first graders read 60 books.”

To honor student achievement at CCSA, Rocky Bluewinkle and Kevin Linton, the Director of Community Affairs for the Wilmington Blue Rocks, led an assembly for Kindergarten, First, Second and Third Grade Students. Mr. Linton and Rocky reinterpreted Earnest Thayer’s famous 1888 baseball poem, “Casey at the Bat,” and presented “Rocky at the Bat” selecting CCSA students to act out the poem.

After meeting Rocky, CCSA Kindergartener Zachary Granberry, 5 years old, of Chester, shared, “I really wanted to meet Rocky. Today made me really happy and I get to see a baseball game.” In addition to meeting Rocky, students had an opportunity to select a new book for their home libraries, courtesy of First Book, a non-profit organization that connects book publishers with community organizations to provide new books for children in need.

Lisa Wilson, CCSA’s Lead Reading Specialist comments, “CCSA’s core values are a commitment to fostering excellence in reading and a love of learning, which is why The Chester Fund, has funded four reading specialists and one reading instructor. We have established an innovative approach to reading intervention and created a culture that makes reading achievement almost like a varsity sport. Today, demonstrated to our students that academic achievement is rewarding. I am thrilled that other organizations are taking note of our work here in Chester.”

Akosua Watts, CCSA principal adds, “With organizational partners like Blue Rocks, Delaware Education Association and First Book, we are one step closer in our journey to closing the educational gap for our CCSA scholars. Reading is the foundational skill for all other learning. I applaud the cooperative spirit of our partners and their investment in our school.”

For more information on The Chester Fund for Education and the Arts or Chester Charter School for the Arts, please contact Carol Hill at (610) 859-2988, or email

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