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Students at New Albany Elementary School were treated to a special guest on Wednesday as part of the Read Across America program.
Former Ole Miss and New Orleans Saints running back, Deuce McAllister, spoke with kids at the school, emphasizing the importance of getting an education as well as staying active and healthy.
“When talking to a younger group, you want to give them something they can relate to, something they can use in their day-to-day life,” McAllister said. “Just to be able to read one of Dr. Seuss’s books to them is important, but it’s also about reinforcing some of the daily things they learn, like trying to eat healthy and being respectful to others, as well as reinforcing education.”
“I’m just trying to do my part.”
The former Rebel held numerous records during his time at Ole Miss, including being the only player to record over 1,000 all-purpose yards for three seasons. McAllister was the 23rd overall pick in the 2001 NFL Draft and was a member of the Super Bowl XLIV champion Saints.
Now retired, McAllister is working toward finishing his degree at Ole Miss, something he said is important for any athlete that has the chance to play in college.
“With the way the NCAA is set up now, you have to be qualified, and it’s getting tougher for athletes to want to go to the next level just to play ball and not focus on their education,” he said. “I was fortunate to make it to the pros, and for any sport, you have to also have an education, something to fall back on, then if you’re fortunate enough to make it to the pros, that span of time is only so long. After that’s over, what will you do then? That’s where education plays a critical role.”
McAllister read to the Pre-K through second grade students and finished his visit at the elementary school giving a motivational speech to the remaining grades before going to New Albany High School, where he spent time speaking to the Bulldogs’ football team, as well as taking their questions.
Read Across America was developed in 1997 as a way to help motivate children in reading. The event coincides with Seuss’s birthday, which is March 2.