Michael Wynn | Social Community Manager
When Sophomore Zackery Gignac received his coach’s message about volunteering to read to an elementary school class, he jumped at the chance to get back in the classroom. Gignac, who is pursuing his bachelor’s degree in child studies at Post, saw this as both an opportunity to give back to the community and apply what he’s learning in the early childhood education courses he is taking.
“I really enjoy getting into the classroom whenever I can and this was a chance to get some community service hours and give back to the community,” he said.
Gignac was one of several members of the men’s Lacrosse team who visited Mountain View Elementary School in Bristol on March 2, 2023 in honor of Read Across America Day. In addition to reading to the students, the team participated in different activities and talked about their experiences as college athletes.
Established in 1998 by the National Education Association, Read Across America Day is held annually on the birthday of renowned children’s author Dr. Seuss. The goal of the day is to inspire a love of reading in children, something that Gignac recognizes is important to their success as students.
“Reading is necessary for children because it not only helps them to learn new words, understand how sentences are formed, and improve their grammar, but it also helps them to develop their creativity and imaginations,” he said.
In fact, connecting with children and reading to them is what inspired him to pursue his degree in the first place. Growing up in Canada, Gignac formed a special bond with one of his childhood best friend’s sisters who has autism.
“I would read to her, and we formed this really special connection,” he said. “I’ve always loved coaching kids and even got the chance to work in classrooms in Canada, so I knew this was something I wanted to go to college for.”
In addition to the experience of working with the students, Gignac also connected with teachers at the school. Understanding the importance of learning from experienced professionals, he gained some valuable advice as he read Seuss’ famed story One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish to the class, which is about accepting others’ differences and valuing diversity.
He knows that this advice, the most important of which he said was patience, will serve him well when he begins his career, whether it is working in a classroom or being a member of his county’s board of education back home, which is his ultimate goal.
“As I was reading, the teacher gave me some pointers,” Gignac said. “She encouraged me to ask the class questions as I was reading, made sure I was showing the students the pictures, and gave me some other tips. This will all help me down the line when I start my career after I graduate.”