GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - There is no better gift together on Valentine's Day then the love of books and reading. That's what happened Tuesday morning at Crossroads Elementary School in Gulfport. Several community leaders came to the school to read books to the children in first through sixth grades.
It was hard to tell who was more excited: the guest readers or the students, who sat in rapt attention. The program had a simple goal for guest reader and Navy man Rodolfo Gallardo.
"We're trying to give them that inspiration to become something, to maintain reading, maintain their progressiveness in their education," Gallardo said.
The students took that message to heart. One of them is Allison Abbott.
"Well, we learned about Disney World because this whole book was based on a ride at Disney World, the Haunted Mansion ride, and it was just really fun," Abbott explained.
There were other goals, as well, for guest reader and Gulfport City Council Member R. Lee Flowers.
"Hopefully, that will instill the love for reading in the children. But more importantly, to read, to gain the knowledge, to experience things that you may never see," Flowers said.
For some of the guest readers at Crossroads Elementary, the fact that this program, this special reading event happened on February 14th, meant a great deal to them.
"I really enjoy my Valentine's Day with the kids," said guest reader Harrison County Supervisor Kent Jones. "It's very important to we come out sometimes and give back, doing a little reading and just kind of hanging out with the kids is what it's really all about."
Their efforts leave a lasting impression for students like Hannah Brans.
"I do read a lot of books and I just like looking at the words and trying to comprehend what the books say and following along with the storyline," Brans said.
Another student, Makayla Lindsey, agreed.
"I like books. I like that they show pictures of what they are doing. I like how you can read for fun and it's creative," Lindsey said.
This is the sixth year school officials have hosted the "Have a Heart" for reading program on Valentine's Day.