By Kelly Burneson, Contributing Writer
Northborough – Before he signed with the New England Patriots in 2016, Malcolm Mitchell was a star wide receiver with the University of Georgia football team. But Mitchell’s fans might be surprised that it is not football that he is most proud of, but rather, of how he has developed his love of reading. And at a special assembly held at the Lincoln Street School March 22, the Pats star shared that love with a very appreciative audience of young students.
Mitchell’s visit to the school was at the invitation of local business owner, Michael Beyranevand, whose son Ryan is a first grade student there.
“After the Patriots drafted [Mitchell] last April, I read an article in the newspaper about how his number one passion in his life was reading, not football,” Beyranevand, the president of Northborough Property Management, said. “He had also dealt with a great deal of adversity in his life with his reading disability. He was now a huge reading advocate and he also had recently wrote his own children’s book called ‘The Magician’s Hat’”.
“I figured what better person to bring to my son’s school than a Patriots player who loves reading. So I reached out to his charitable foundation last May to get the process started. It took a lot of back and forth but we finally made it happen,” he added.
Beyranevand also agreed, as part of the deal, to provide each child in the school with a copy of Mitchell’s book.
On the day of the event, the Lincoln Street School children, ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade, paraded into the cafeteria sporting their favorite New England Patriots attire. Each child was also carrying a copy of the “The Magician’s Hat.”
Principal Jennifer Parson first introduced Beyranevand, who told the kids a bit about how he had reached out to Mitchell, before playing a short film about Mitchell.
Mitchell then spoke to the kids about how he had never developed a love for reading until he was a college student. It was then, he said, that he realized he was not reading at the level that he should be. He set out to change that and found that once his reading levels improved, it opened a whole new world for him, he said. Inspired by his own experience, he then decided that he wanted to write a book to help encourage young children to learn how reading could change their lives as well.
“In order to succeed you have to read!” he stressed, and then asked the children to repeat it with him.
For more on Mitchell’s foundation visit www.readwithmalcolm.com.