It was mid-March and the students at West Powellhurst Elementary School had just finished a week of standardized testing and desperately needed a break. Those test results will prove what the Trail Blazers knew—that the kids at West Powellhurst are good students and especially good readers. So good in fact, that Blaze and Trail Blazers Will Barton and Eric Maynor visited to celebrate their reading with a Read to Achieve Assembly, presented by Kia Motors.
West Powellhurst is just east of I-205 between Division and Powell. On that beautiful Wednesday, with some boisterous neighborhood chickens squawking in the background, Principal Allen Browning welcomed Blaze, Eric and Will to a gym full of screaming students. For Will, the assembled mass of overly loud kids was nothing new as he had done a Kia Motors reading assembly before. He took it all stride. In fact, as he entered the gym, Will did as he always does at community events, he became a part of the student section. As he moved, the kids moved with him, too. Were he walking tall, Will would have more than towered over them, but he walked on the kids’ level. The kid crowd moved like a ball under a carpet. Not to be outdone, Eric entered the mass of students just after Will. The calmness that Principal Browning had created prior to the introductions was a distant memory.
Not long after Will and Eric had taken their positions in front of the students, the gym was quiet again. The players, with help from Blaze, quizzed the kids on secrets about Blaze, testing their knowledge about everyone’s favorite Trail Cat. From there, students recited and repeated the Read to Achieve pledge. Blaze, Will and Eric presented Principal Browning with a box of books for the school library and a Trail Blazers autographed basketball. All in all it was a great day for the students there, and infinitely better than standardized testing. Thank you Kia Motors, who are a Proud Partner of the Portland Trail Blazers, for making it all possible.