St. Clair County high school football teams put aside their season rivalries to cheer on the students at St. Clair County Head Start.

High school football players and cheerleaders from Ragland, Ashville, Pell City, Springville, and St. Clair County High School all came together to support the local Head Start program for Head Start Awareness Month with inspirational words, cheers, and prizes.

The Duran Junior High School Band, consisting of seventh and eight graders, performed for the preschoolers.

“We are so excited to see y’all and can’t wait to see you in band, cheer or football,” Jr. High Band Director Duane Player told the students.

High school football players from each school gave the students inspirational talks, most including to “listen to teachers and parents.”

Each Head Start class performed an original cheer for the attendees and created cards for each team present.

“We want the kids to see all the possibilities and see what they can be,” said St. Clair County Head Start Executive Director Latoya Orr Threatt. “Many of them [football players and cheerleaders] started right here at Head Start. We want to create a pipeline from preschool to high school, because ultimately that is where we want them to go.”

Threatt also said that the event helps the students with socialization skills, allows them to spend time with community members, and gives them a chance to interact with students that were enrolled at Head Start before and are now role models for the preschoolers to look up to.

“We want to show the kids that they can be in the band, they can be a football player or cheerleader,” Threatt said.

Also during the pep rally, Pell City Rotary Club presented each student with a “Bedtime in a Box,” which contained books, toothbrush, toothpaste and a bedtime snack wrapped up in a box.

“Have someone read to you at night,” Meg Clements, Pell City Rotary Club President, told the students.

“Studies show that the more vocabulary kids are exposed to, the more success they’ll have,” Threatt said. “Reading helps increase school readiness.”

St. Clair County Head Start also does a monthly storytelling on their Facebook page as part of their reading initiative.

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