Wayne Lyons will read the quarterback when he covers pass receivers for the Stanford Cardinal in Tuesday’s Foster Farms Bowl. He’s into reading, reports Elliott Almond for the San Jose Mercury News. A Fort Lauderdale native, the 22-year-old architectural design major started a virtual book club to encourage his high school friends and team mates to read.
Lyons believed 20 minutes a day of reading would help classmates build knowledge that would make them better students — and eligible to play football.
He encouraged students to read and write about their book in a text or on Facebook.
An honors student and class president at Dillard High, Lyons took community college classes in high school and became class valedictorian.
His friend and teammate Wilkervens Tamar, who’d left middle school with a 1.0 grade-point average, graduated No. 3 in his class, earned a Bill Gates Millennium scholarship and attends Georgia Tech.
After seeing how excited some of his classmates got about reading, Lyons expanded the project to reach younger students with a mentoring program he called P.A.R.T.Y. — Pick Up Anything and Read To Yourself. He also matched upperclassmen with middle school kids so the younger ones would know what to expect upon entering Dillard.
Lyons once told his mother, “I feel bad for a lot of these kids. They don’t have study habits. They’re doomed before they even get into high school. I’ve got to get them reading, because that’s the start.”
His mother, Gwen Bush, a computer science teacher, taught her children to read fluently before they started kindergarten.
Lyons plans to graduate in June, but has another season of academic eligibility. He may return to Stanford or go on to the NFL.