Sixth grader Kassidy McConaghy was surprised on Monday, January 7 when Delmarva Shorebird’s mascot “Sherman the Shorebird” visited her during her lunch in the Milford Middle School (MMS) cafeteria. Unknown to Kassidy and all of the student at MMS, her bookmark design entry had won the Hit the Books Reading Program.
The Delmarva Shorebirds, class “A” affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, holds the annual Hit the Books reading program to encourage school-aged students on the Eastern Shore to read outside of their regular classroom assignments. Students that complete their reading goals receive two free tickets to a Shorebirds game and are honored as part of a pregame parade around the field at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium.
“The Hit the Books program has evolved into our biggest community outreach program over the last four years and we’re thrilled to team up with Dr. James M. Crouse this year,” stated Shorebirds General Manager Chris Bitters in a press release regarding the program. “We take a great deal of pride in encouraging area students to read outside the classroom.”
Each year, the program begins with a bookmark design contest where students are asked to design a bookmark that best represents the Hit the Books program. Kassidy’s design of Sherman the Shorebird holding a book took first prize and will be distributed to over 45,000 students across 100 schools on the Eastern Shore to help encourage reading outside the classroom. In addition Kassidy will also have the opportunity to throw out a ceremonial pitch at a Shorebirds game.
Through the encouragement of her parents and grandparents, Kassidy has recently found her love for reading. “It makes me a proud father to see her enjoy reading this much,” commented Matt McConaghy. “We encourage her to keep it up.”