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A South Bay pitch for reading

A South Bay pitch for reading
EDUCATION» Read up on South Bay scholastics DAILY BREEZE BLOG» South Bay School Notebook

They surrounded Chad Qualls as soon as the Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher arrived, clamoring for high-fives as cameras flashed and video rolled.

The Lomita native on Friday created a major-league stir when he visited 186th Street Elementary School in Gardena.

The big right-hander towered over the elementary schoolers, stretching his 6-foot-5-inch frame over their heads as they pogoed to try to slap his palm.

Qualls, a Narbonne High graduate who is spending the off-season in Redondo Beach, helped pass out free books as part of a school spirit day focused on encouraging students to start reading.

Standing near the lunch tables as dozens of boys and girls scanned through books, he said, "It's nice to see the kids faces and see how they interact with a Baseball player. I know I would have loved it when I was a kid."

The visit was the brainchild of Principal Marcia Reed, who started the book giveaway three years ago just after Qualls' World Series appearance with the Houston Astros . It also helps that Dottie Qualls, a fifth-grade teacher at 186thStreet, is his mother.

"I call and he comes," she said with a grin.

Besides the book giveaway, students got to wear athletic jerseys to school and got to watch a movie and eat popcorn after school.

Dottie Qualls said she likes the event because it reinforces the message of how fun learning can be.

"When kids come to school happy, you're winning their hearts and minds, which makes them more receptive to learning," she said.

Boston Red Sox Class A player Ryan Dent was also out passing books Friday.

The 19-year-old Long Beach resident said he dropped by to try to inspire some of the children as an example of what can happen if they follow their dreams.

"Hopefully, I can provide these kids with some hope that they can be whatever they want in life...a doctor, nurse or athlete," Dent said.

"If you get excited about school, you can get where you want to be in life."

"In the Classroom" is a series that hones in on what is happening at one South Bay school each week. If you think there is an interesting class, teacher or program in the area please e-mail Nguyen Huy Vu at or call him at 310-543- 6627.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: November 25, 2008

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