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Marauders turn downtime into story time

  • Seamus Murphy, of Norwich, Vt., who is a Hanover High School junior and one of the tri-captains on the football team, reads Dr. Seuss' "The Zax" in front of the school with his mother Amie Murphy recording him in Hanover, N.H., on Tuesday, April 28, 2020. Members of the football team have recorded themselves reading children's books, which has been turned into an online video that schools and parents can access for a break during quarantine. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hanover High School football tri-captain Hank Trimble sits on his childhood swing at his home in Norwich, Vt. on Tuesday, April, 28, 2020. Trimble has led a group of Hanover High football players through sessions of reading children's books, which has been turned into an online video that schools and parents can access for a break during quarantine. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Amie Murphy, of Norwich, Vt., records her son Seamus Murphy in front of Hanover High School in Hanover, N.H., reading "The Zax" by Dr. Seuss on Tuesday, April 28, 2020. Murphy is a junior and one of the captains on the Hanover football team. Members of the team have recorded themselves reading children's books which has been turned into an online video that schools and parents can access during quarantine. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 4/29/2020 9:12:08 PM
Modified: 4/29/2020 9:12:03 PM

HANOVER — “Hi, my name is Hank. And I’m one of the captains of the Hanover football team.”

Hank Trimble isn’t decked out in a helmet and pads as he speaks. Instead, he’s in his letterman jacket, sitting in a comfortable chair with a large bookcase as a backdrop. In his hands: a copy of Shhhhh! Everybody’s Sleeping, a children’s book by Julie Markes and one of Trimble’s favorites from his childhood.

He begins: “The teacher is sleeping; school’s out for the day.” Only it isn’t. The Hanover High junior is just happy to stop the clock for a few minutes.

Trimble and a few of his Marauder teammates have been picking up a good book or several lately.

The group produced a 12-minute video last month — titled Story Time With HHS Football and uploaded to the Hudl football performance analysis website — that has them reading children’s books aloud as a coronavirus quarantine project.

As Trimble explained this week, the intent was to produce something parents could use to occupy their kids’ minds while getting a least a short break in their days.

The first video was so well-received that a second should be up and running by next week.

“I’ve always liked working with kids as a camp counselor or teaching kids how to play hockey with friends,” Trimble said. “I thought it would be a great idea if we had the football team read stories to little kids and publish it on YouTube to listen to it. It’s a fun idea.”

Hanover coach Sam Cavallaro certainly likes the concept.

“He’s really good at that type of stuff,” Cavallaro said recently. “He took the lead, brainstormed with different people and came up with the idea of putting the video together. ... They sent it to the Ray School in Hanover, and the principal posted it on her blog. She sent it to all of the teachers, and they just loved it.”

A book isn’t always Trimble’s first free-time option, he confessed. For the project, however, he had an inspiration: His mother, Lisa Christie, is a voracious reader, co-host of a book blog (Book Jam) and the former executive director of Everybody Wins! Vermont, a literacy program that directs children’s interests toward reading.

“She helped me out with the idea; myself, I’m not a huge reader,” said Trimble, who had his mom handle the recording of his book time. “She was the step that really got me to want to do this.”

Trimble texted his teammates to see who would be interested in contributing, not knowing what to expect.

Six ultimately did: Ben Wagner, Seamus Murphy, Colin Pierce, Jack Crandall, Patrick Elder and Tim Ralph. Together, they pulled out selections featuring dogs, ducks, bulls and monsters along with Dr. Seuss’ The Foot Book.

The recordings vary in quality, some sharp of focus, others less so. Each was sent to Cavallaro, who forwarded them to assistant coach Hoyt Sutherland for editing and online posting.

Wagner, a junior who will be a tri-captain next season with Trimble and Murphy, chose The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf and Robert Watson. As with Trimble, the book is one Wagner recalls fondly from his youth.

“I think it’s a really fun, peaceful story,” explained Wagner, a two-way lineman with the Marauders. “I also thought it was kind of fun to show that, as a football team, as much as we like to be tough and fearsome on the field, a lot of guys are just mellow human beings off the field.”

Murphy offered Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are on the initial video.

“I really liked that book as a kid; I still think it’s a great book for kids,” said Murphy, a sophomore running back and linebacker. “It’s teaching lessons about parents still loving their children even when they’re misbehaving.”

The effort makes Ray School principal Lauren Amhrein happy. Cavallaro informed her of the project and sent her a link. Amhrein got the word out to her teachers and has received plenty of positive feedback.

“I see it as both recreational and educational,” Amhrein said. “I’ve had families say they’re thrilled to have their kids able to access this collection.”

The project has also helped Trimble fill gaps in his life created by the pandemic. He would have been in the midst of Hanover’s baseball season right now had the virus not put a halt to everything athletic.

He and his football teammates have been maintaining offseason workouts through Zoom meetings.

As for a second set of readings, Trimble already has his book selected: Eileen Spinelli’s Do You Have a Hat?

“It’s also a book that I remember very well,” he said. “We plan on keeping this little project going to help the little kids and their parents.”

Greg Fennell can be reached at gfennell@vnews.com or 603-727-3226.




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