Stuart visits school as part of reading month
|Brad Stuart with kindergarten class
at Vandenberg World Cultures Academy
Some had never seen a hockey player in person before. Some were only somewhat familiar with the sport of hockey in general. Vandenberg has a very diverse student population, with kids from 25 countries from around the world and 29 different languages represented throughout the school.
“I’ve got kids - one is five, one is four - and I know how excited they get about stuff like this,” he said. “So it was just a good opportunity to do something that I know the kids will remember for a long time.”
The book he chose was Brady Brady and the Great Exchange by Mary Shaw and Chuck Temple, a children’s book about a hockey player trying to find a pair of hockey skates to fit one of his teammates. In a class that - by Ms. Colsanti’s own admission - is usually rife with noise and rambunctious kindergartners, the room grew surprisingly quiet as Stuart read to the students while donning his red number 23 jersey.
After the reading, Stuart answered a slew of questions from the youngsters; sharing stories about his hockey career and even a trophy he won as a nine-year-old as “Paper Boy of the Month.” The kids got a laugh out of that story and hung on every word Stuart said. It was an afternoon that made a positive impact not only on the kids in attendance, but on the veteran defenseman as well.
“We’re athletes and people view us in a different light and we have a chance to do something good,” he said. “If I was a kid and I had a chance to experience something like this, it’s something I’d talk about for a long time. It’s a positive thing you can do, it takes 20 minutes or whatever, but the effect that it has in the kids and generating some excitement for them - as far as reading goes - is going to last for a while.”