Nathan Greene was in pre-k when he first went to Quail Run Elementary School.
He returned Friday as part of the Northside High School football team to read to students and to give a talk to fifth-grade boys.
“It’s kinda weird,” he said in the cafeteria just before speaking to students. “I recognize things from before.”
Greene was among 50 Northside students who attended the read-in, including three Northside football players who attended Quail Run during elementary school.
Although Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Olivia McMillan attended Eagle Springs Elementary School, she said she had heard good things about Quail Run from classmates who attended.
McMillan and Michaela Heide, Miss Northside, talked to a group of fifth-grade girls in the media center.
“It wasn’t always easy,” McMillan said about participating in pageants.
Other children and adults would tell her she was too heavy to be in pageants. McMillan didn’t listen to her naysayers. Believing in her dreams and not trying to be someone else was the most important, she emphasized to the girls.
Heide added that people are always trying to get her to use spray tan on her fair skin.
“Stay true to yourself,” Heide said.
Abigail Halsell, 11 years old, said the two high-schoolers motivated her to try to do more.
“That made me want to do pageants,” she said.
After the speeches, 31 football players, 15 cheerleaders, two pageant queens and the Eagle mascot and his handler went into classrooms to read to students.
As football players passed children in the hall, several received high fives and hugs from adoring fans.
In Jillian Clark’s second-grade classroom, the mascot led students in a dance and they chanted “eagles, eagles, eagles.”
Chris Elizondo, D’Angelo Loving and Jakorey Curry each read a book in Clark’s class.
Curry read from “The Principal from the Black Lagoon,” which he said were his favorite series of books when he was in elementary school.
Elizondo read “Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon,” and Loving read “The Very Busy Spider,” complete with sound effects from his teammates and the class.
The purpose of the day was to encourage younger students, Jan Moore said.
“We want them to talk to them about having a good work ethic, working hard and getting good grades,” Clark said.