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Colts punter reads to students at Ernie Pyle as part of Hispanic Heritage Book Fair

Colts punter Rigoberto Sanchez poses with students and cheerleaders.

Students at Ernie Pyle School 90 took another step in making reading a regular habit Tuesday when they crowded around an Indianapolis Colts player during a session of the Colts/Scholastic/Hispanic Heritage Book Fair.

Class after class came to the school’s gymnasium to listen to Colts punter Rigoberto Sanchez and select t-shirts and other items provided by the NFL team.

“From an educator’s standpoint, we want our students to read for understanding and for enjoyment,” said Ernie Pyle Principal Valerie Clark. “With all the media students have, we want them to turn their devices off, sit down and read a good book. It can open up so many worlds for them.

“I am so grateful that the Colts and Scholastic Books decided to recognize Hispanic Heritage month at Ernie Pyle elementary school,” she said. “As a result, our students will see that people outside the local community care about them.”

After Sanchez finished his reading assignment, he urged the students to pick out their new books, courtesy of Scholastic, an American multinational publishing, education and media company. Without hesitation, they bolted to the shelves to find two new books to read at home.

Clark was particularly pleased the Colts brought Sanchez to the event. Raised in Chico, Calif., Sanchez is of Mexican descent. He played college football at the University of Hawaii and was signed by the Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2017. He is currently on injured reserve.

Sanchez was joined by several cheerleaders and staff members from the team.

“About 55 percent of our school are of Hispanic heritage,” she said. “Our students need to see that Hispanics can become a pro football player as well as so many other career paths. More importantly, he’s a football player, but he loves to read.”