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“Real Men Read” at Leaphart Elementary highlights importance of reading, male role models

Columbia, SC - More than 50 firemen, police officers, school administrators and other men gathered at Leaphart Elementary School on Oct. 25 as part of an effort to bolster reading and the importance of male role models in schools.

The “Real Men Read” event allowed the special visitors of the day to read books and discuss the importance of education and reading. Guests included District Five School Board Chairman Robert Gantt, Vice Chairman Larry Haltiwanger, Sr., and members of the Irmo High varsity football team.

This marks the fifth year Leaphart Elementary has hosted the event and first year principal Courtney Long believed it was important to continue the tradition of inspiring students to read.

“Our students see their teachers every day at school – for them to see a local, successful male from the community come in and show them the importance of reading, it can only inspire them further,” Long said. “We want our young learners to feel confident when reading, and what better way to show them than experience it with men they can look up to.”

In the classrooms, men settled into rocking chairs and sat in reading circles to share books and life lessons with students in the school. Some of the men brought books from home while others embraced books the school provided from its library.

“Our students are our future and it is important that we show them how critical reading is in life,” said Gantt, who read What Do You Do With An Idea?. “I think seeing people from different professions and backgrounds shows them we are committed to their education.”

Haltiwanger added: “District Five is a special place, and I always enjoy being a part of ‘Real Men Read.’ It makes me feel so good inside when the children’s faces light up after opening the cover of that book. We cannot thank Principal Long and Leaphart Elementary enough for continuing to keep this tradition alive.”

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