For the keiki

Thank you Kalaheo Elementary School for having me for the Reading is Funtastic event on Tuesday.

Truthfully, I was surprised to receive a letter from school librarian David Yukimura, inviting me to be a guest reader.

Of all the “prominent community leaders” that could have been invited, I never would have guessed I would be one.

I don’t view myself as such, but how could I turn down such an offer? I vowed to do what I could.

When I arrived at the school that dreary morning, anxiety set in.

First, I hoped to the heavens that I would not stumble on any of the words. Reading out of a grade school-level book, that would have been very, very embarrassing.

I am relieved to say that I didn’t. At least I don’t think I did.

Second, it was apparent when I met the other guest speakers that I didn’t dress the part.

While everyone else looked official, I showed up in my my regular threads — a T-shirt, cargo shorts and a hat.

It never came to mind that morning that I should look more presentable. I could have at least worn an aloha shirt.

Thank you to those who told me that dressing up wasn’t why we were there.

Third, I didn’t know what to say to these kids.

When I was asked to talk about myself, what I do and why reading is important, I had no clue how I would relay this message to elementary students.

As much as I wish I can say otherwise, reading was not high on my to-do list when I was their age. Much like the kids I interacted with, I’d rather play outside or play video games.

I questioned that morning if I should be the person doing this.

But I did as best I could. To the teachers who allowed me to speak to their students, I hope I wasn’t terrible.

And to the kids I was with, I hope you had fun with me. And I hope that something I said stuck with you in some way.

To all of you — especially the future soccer stars, baseball standouts, football heroes and surfing legends — I hope to be reading about your successes in the future.

•••

Nick Celario can be reached at ncelario@thegardenisland.com.

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