Prairie Elementary School, in the Elk Grove Unified School District, welcomed a very special guest to the campus on April 5, 2007, when students were treated to a visit by Sacramento Kings forward Ron Artest.
Artest met with the first grade class of teacher Skye Mie Smith, who represents the Elk Grove Unified School District as one of its two Teachers of the Year for 2007. She was also selected as one of the two Sacramento County Teachers of the Year 2007.
"It's really nice to see the Kings support the kids, the teachers, and the schools," Smith said. "It's very powerful, I believe."
The Kings player posed for pictures with the students, signed autographs, passed out books, and provided treats. He read the book Hey, Little Ant by Phillip and Hannah Hoose and talked to the students about the importance of reading and education. Artest later addressed students during a special afternoon assembly.
"We really appreciate the Kings sending a player to our schools to talk about the importance of reading and education," said David W. Gordon, Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools.
Artest's visit to Prairie Elementary was made possible by Maloof Sports and Entertainment and was sponsored by the Maloofs and You! Foundation. The visit was in conjunction with the Kings Read to Achieve Program.
The Sacramento Kings have honored local Teachers of the Year for almost fifteen years. The 2007 Teachers of the Year were honored with a pre-game reception and a special halftime ceremony during the Kings-New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets on February 5th, 2007.
The Sacramento County Teachers of the Year program is coordinated annually by the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) to recognize the achievements of local educators and to raise awareness of the valuable role that teachers play in the lives of their students and in the community. The program is presented by SCOE in partnership with Maloof Sports and Entertainment and the Sacramento Scottish Rite Bodies of Freemasonry.