Overlook Elementary School in Temple Hills, Md. recently received a special guest visit from a local star.

Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon made a surprise visit to the Prince George’s County school on May 23 to congratulate students for placing third in the Redskins Read Book Challenge.

Oaklands Elementary in Laurel, Md. and Guilford Elementary in Sterling, Va. received first and second place, respectively.

The Redskins Read initiative, “promotes youth literacy by challenging local elementary school students in the D.C. Metro Area to explore the joy of reading and the power of imagination through books,” according to a statement.

Students who read 10 or more books in the 2013-2014 school year are invited to have a parent, guardian or teacher nominate them for the Redskins Read Book Challenge. Eligible students receive reading certificates and are entered into a drawing to win additional Redskins prizes.

Schools from all over the D.C. Metropolitan area participated in the challenge, including 57 schools from 19 counties.

“Over 50 percent of our school had 100 percent participation in the program,” Overlook Elementary School Reading specialist Jerselle Howard said in a statement released by the Prince George’s County school system. “The students not only enjoyed reading, but they talked about what they read and they were so excited to share.”

The students at Overlook read 13 or more books prior to the March 15 deadline in an effort to win the grand prize, a visit from a Redskins player.

“I was very impressed with how many books they read; it just shows you the type of learning going on here at Overlook,” Garcon said in a statement.

Garcon talked with students, fielded questions and even danced in the school’s auditorium with Principal Ingrid Williams-Horton.

“Winning this challenge is a testament to their dedication and commitment to reading,” Williams-Horton said. “Without reading you can’t do anything. I’m so happy they were rewarded for their efforts.”

Courtney Jacobs

AFRO Staff Writer