Published on May 6th, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


SC Bar Young Lawyers Division, Cocky’s Reading Express visit District Five school

IRMO – Students at a Lexington-Richland District Five school received a surprise visit from University of South Carolina beloved mascot Cocky on May 6, as part of a partnership aimed at spurring students’ love of reading.

Cocky’s Reading Express and members of the Young Lawyers Division of the South Carolina Bar visited first grade classes at Harbison West Elementary School, sharing books and the importance of daily reading. More than 86,000 books have been given to students around the state this school year through Cocky’s Reading Express.

“We want to share our love of reading, we want to be able to put books into children’s hands, and we just want to let them see how fun reading can be,” said Christine Shelek, program coordinator for Cocky’s Reading Express. “To be a lawyer, you do have to read a lot. So, the young lawyers are excellent role models for these students…Both groups are always excited to get into the schools, meet the students and teachers, and encourage the students to read daily.”

This is the fifth year that Cocky’s Reading Express has partnered with the Young Lawyers Division of the South Carolina Bar as part of Community Law Week. Lawyers like Sable Burgess say it’s important for attorneys in the group to give back in every way they can.

“It’s just a really good way for us to get into the schools and make an impact,” said Burgess. “I love to read, so it’s always been a huge part of my life… and definitely as a lawyer you do a lot of reading. So, when we’re at the school we try to tell the students that reading is important for anything they want to do, whether they want to be a lawyer or go into other careers.”

In its tenth year, Cocky’s Reading Express is a collaboration of USC’s Student Government and the University’s School of Library and Information Science. Student-volunteers travel the state with Cocky, visiting elementary schools in an effort to promote daily reading.  At Harbison West Elementary, each first grade student received a copy of the book “How Do You Hug A Porcupine” during the May 6 visit after making a pledge to Cocky that they will read each day.

“As educators, we often say that reading is fundamental and that’s true… Reading is often the catalyst for learning,” said Arthur Newton, principal of Harbison West Elementary. “Through groups like the Young Lawyers Division and Cocky’s Reading Express and through high-quality reading initiatives already implemented at our school, we are able to give our students the confidence and skills to put them on a course for success for many years to come.”







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