An amazing opportunity to showcase the importance of reading featuring Saskatchewan Roughrider Logan Ferland took place at Westberry Elementary School in Kindersley on Monday.
And it wasn't just special for the kids:
Nearly everybody in the school had their Rider green on, chalked full of excitement with a real life Roughrider in the building; but it was the biggest kid of them all who was itching to be in the Westberry School halls.
"I got to share my story, along with the importance of reading to the over 300 students of Westberry School in Kindersley," said Ferland of the excellent chance to get back to the Town in which he grew up. Before moving to Melfort where he would become the football behemoth he is today, he spent his childhood in Kindersley walking the same halls he towered through on Monday for the first time since the fifth grade.
After a few warmup books to start the day, the 10:00 AM story time was in the library for Mr. Sarada and Mr. Maki's class to enjoy. An interesting twist from the first hour of reading, because Mr. Sarada was actually Ferland's last teacher at Westberry. Sarada was one of a few faces still around that Ferland was able to reacquaint with, making his time volunteering even more memorable:
Ferland is just one Roughriders player travelling through Saskatchewan for the Rider Reading Program. Frankie Hickson was in Weyburn a few weeks back, as the Rider Reading Program is a Saskatchewan Roughriders Foundation community initiative that has been reaching out to kids in schools for years.
This was the 25 year old's first appearance with Rider Reading, and he still has a few lined up later this month to help fill out the offseason.
Ferland is often wrangled into the Roughriders promotional plans being a Saskatchewan born player, but he recalled how he was once just one of the kids in the crowd.
Current Roughriders General Manager Jeremy O'Day spoke at Melfort & Unit Comprehensive Collegiate back in the day in front of one of his future players.
"Talking to the kids, just like I once had," said Ferland, "Just having that full circle now, having him as the GM and playing for him. It's pretty cool to see it like that."
Rider Reading is just one community program that Saskatchewan's football team is involved with. Ferland along with the rest of his teammates taking time this offseason know that being a Roughrider means more than just showing up on the field. Ferland did his best to make the kids remember him, and an autograph session for every classroom left no doubt that they would.
Whether its a Polar Plunge or shooting a promo for the Grey Cup, Ferland has always liked getting involved with the team off the field. Being summoned to his childhood hometown to read children's books was an easy invite to accept.
"Kindersley was one of my choices. Dan Clark is organizing everything for the team, for each player. What town and what school they are going to, and Kindersley was a no-brainer to me."
Clark himself was in West Central about a year ago speaking at a pair of events, and made sure his not-so-rookie anymore Ferland was setup for success with his first attempt at Rider Reading. Ferland now has experience for his next outings, set for his other hometown of Melfort as well as Nipawin.
Outside of reading books and signing autographs, Ferland took some time to answer some pretty creative questions. One student asked if the Regina Thunder were the Roughriders farm team, allowing Logan to explain just how he became a Roughrider. Another question asked if he liked turtles. One question that fell in between was if he ever got interview for any of his accomplishments.
Anyone following along at West Central Online knows that Ferland has had quite the journey, and hopefully the Roughriders Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman in 2022 was able to make some young fans who will be keeping their eye out for #63 on the field this upcoming season.