Four members of Northwestern University’s football team, Trevor Siemian, Dan Vitale, P.J. Carollo and C.J. Bryant, visited Lincoln Elementary School on Sept. 20 to participate in “Read Across Evanston.” The football players, joined by Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, read to kindergarten and first-grade classes, answered questions, signed autographs and then met with third- through fifth-graders in an assembly. This was the kickoff event of “Paint Evanston Purple,” said Maureen Palchak, assistant director of marketing/community relations at NU.
At Lincoln, the kids were “very excited,” said Bonnie Schinder, a member of Lincoln’s PTA, who helped coordinate the event. “They are here to promote literacy,” she said. “There’s no one better to do this than players from Northwestern University. We feel very honored to be part of the kick-off.”
“It’s awesome,” said Chris McDermott, principal of Lincoln. “I think Lincoln is a fabulous place to kick off Paint Evanston Purple.”
Many kids, dressed in purple for the day, raised their hands when asked if they were NU fans, and just as many raised their hands to ask questions. Most questions focused on football rather than the storybooks. Some kids seemed disappointed when Dan Vitale said in response to one kindergartner’s question that he had not scored 13 consecutive touchdowns in a game.
NU football players also read to kids at Lincolnwood and Dawes this week, and a Paint-the-Town-Purple pep rally is scheduled at 6 p.m. tonight, Sept. 27, at the steps of the Crown Center, Clark Street and Orrington Avenue. On Sept. 29, NU and the City of Evanston team up to host Evanston Day at Ryan Field for the Big Ten opener. as NU takes on Indiana University.