ICYMI: First Lady Sandra Deal Partners with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® and Gwinnett’s Rockbridge Elementary School to Advance Reading Initiatives

February 4, 2015

Third graders set their sights on the circus through Reading with Ringling, February 2 – 13

ATLANTA – Feb. 4, 2015 – Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® and First Lady Sandra Deal are working in partnership to encourage reading at Gwinnett County’s Rockbridge Elementary School, Feb. 2 – 13, 2015. A collaborative effort between Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®, First Lady Deal, Gwinnett County Public Schools, and Rockbridge Elementary School, the two-week Reading with Ringling competition will motivate third grade students to read independently from a circus-themed reading list that complements their existing curriculum.

Reading with Ringling has been executed with public library systems nationwide since 2006 and with much success. Similar to First Lady Deal’s Read Across Georgia initiative – dedicated to increasing the percentage of children reading at grade level across Georgia – Reading with Ringling aims to improve readership across the country and compel children to develop a love for reading. Given the synergy with these two efforts, Feld Entertainment identified the opportunity to partner with First Lady Deal to develop a tailored reading competition for Rockbridge Elementary School.

At the conclusion of the two-week reading competition, Rockbridge Elementary School’s entire third grade class will receive a special visit from some of Ringling’s famous clowns and performers for a circus-themed pep rally on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015 at 10 a.m. Most notably, the pep rally will feature legendary Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson, as well as First Lady Deal who will attend to congratulate the students on their reading accomplishments. First Lady Deal will read a crowd favorite, Dr. Seuss’ “If I Ran the Circus,” to students during her visit.

“I am thrilled to shine a spotlight on the importance of reading with the help of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®. Just as the circus entertains us with clowns, trapeze artists and animal acts, reading stimulates the imagination and allows us to see the world through the eyes of the writer,” said First Lady Deal.

As an incentive for the Reading with Ringling competition, the top three performing third grade classrooms will be rewarded for their efforts with a field trip to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® presents LEGENDS on Friday, Feb. 27, 2015 at 10:30 a.m. at The Arena at Gwinnett Center. Feld Entertainment donated 100 tickets to the show in addition to 100 books to permanently leave a piece of the circus magic in the school library.

“We are very excited to be a part of this reading program,” said Rockbridge Elementary Principal Kelly McConnachie. “Ringling, reading, and Rockbridge… it’s a great combination! Not only are we partnering to enrich the lives of our students academically, but we are providing them an experience of a lifetime as many of our students have never had the opportunity to go to the circus.”

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® presents LEGENDS will be at Philips Arena, Feb. 11 – 16, 2015 and The Arena at Gwinnett Center Feb. 19 – March 1, 2015. All seats are reserved, and tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.com for Philips Arena and www.GwinnettCenter.com for The Arena at Gwinnett Center.

ABOUT FELD ENTERTAINMENT

Feld Entertainment is the worldwide leader in producing and presenting live touring family entertainment experiences that lift the human spirit and create indelible memories, with 30 million people in attendance at its shows each year. Feld Entertainment’s productions have appeared in more than 75 countries and on six continents to date and include Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®, Monster Jam®, Monster Energy Supercross, Nuclear Cowboyz®, AMSOIL Arenacross, Disney On Ice Presented by Stonyfield YoKids Organic Yogurt, Disney Live! Presented by Stonyfield YoKids Organic Yogurt and Marvel Universe LIVE!  More information about Feld Entertainment is available online at www.FeldEntertainment.com.

(Press release provided by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey)

Office of the First Lady

Katie McCreary/kmccreary@georgia.gov

Alyssa Botts/abotts@georgia.gov