ACC Mascots Visit Sedgefield Elementary to Promote Reading, School Attendance and Provide Books through United Way Partnership

Surprise visit is part of new ACC-United Way partnership leading up to tomorrow’s sold-out Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game

The 14 Atlantic Coast Conference football mascots made a surprise drop-in at Sedgefield Elementary this morning, visiting classrooms to promote reading and school attendance. The visit was part of the ACC/United Way Reading and Attendance Challenge, a new five-year partnership between the ACC and United Way of Central Carolinas.

United Way Executive Director Sean Garrett and ACC Senior Associate Commissioner & Chief of External Affairs Amy Yakola accompanied the team mascots that went from classroom to classroom for a brief visit. While the mascots interacted with the students, the ACC and United Way spoke about the importance of reading and school attendance, and donated 10 new books to each classroom.

“We’re proud to join United Way of Central Carolinas’ efforts to increase graduation, literacy and attendance rates – causes which mean so much to the Atlantic Coast Conference and our members,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “This initiative builds upon our league’s 20 year partnership with United Way and continues our efforts toward making a difference in the communities that host ACC Championships.”

Sedgefield was chosen for today’s visit thanks to its students, who are supported by A Child’s Place, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs, Boy Scouts and the YWCA – all United Way agencies. Students in these programs were among the 18 agencies that participated this fall in the ACC/United Way Reading and Attendance Challenge.

In one such initiative, the YWCA’s after-school students committed to read 400 books in just one week during the Challenge. The students shattered their goal by reading 669 books and then taking comprehension tests on each, with an 87 percent success rate.

This afternoon, the ACC mascots will also visit Beverly Hills Elementary in Concord to meet the students. During the school-wide assembly, school principal Aimy Steele will read “The Book with No Pictures” by B.J. Novak, as the ACC mascots bring the story to life.

The Beverly Hills visit is thanks to its students served by Academic Learning Center who attend the school and were all participants in the ACC/United Way Reading and Attendance Challenge.

“Reading and attendance are two critical components that United Way is focused on to help students stay on track in the classroom,” said Garrett. “We greatly appreciate the awareness and funding that the ACC is bringing to this important work, which will ultimately help students succeed in school and in life.”

Other students at United Way agencies participating in the ACC/United Way Reading and Attendance Challenge won tickets to tomorrow’s sold-out Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game, and four of the students will be honored on the field during the game when the ACC makes a donation to United Way.

Tomorrow’s in-game presentation is the result of fans who chose to make a donation when purchasing their tickets, as well as proceeds from Saturday morning’s ACC Fan 5K and Kids Mascot Run.

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About United Way of Central Carolinas
United Way of Central Carolinas creates change for a stronger community – from Charlotte/ Mecklenburg to Cabarrus, Mooresville/Lake Norman, Union and Anson – by focusing on Children & Youth, Housing & Stability, and Health & Mental Health. To get help, call United Way’s 211 hotline, or to learn how you can help, visit