Trooper surprises TLC as mystery reader

police officer, teacher and elementary students stand on stage in school auditorium

NYS Police Trooper Patrick Darling surprised the students of Broadalbin-Perth’s The Learning Community as a guest reader to kick off the school’s Read Across America celebration on Friday. Read Across America is a nationwide reading celebration that takes place annually on March 2 — Dr. Seuss’s birthday. 

Before it was revealed that he was the mystery reader, Darling hid backstage in the high school auditorium, where a school-wide assembly was held. From there, he read a book called “Mikey and the Dragons,” a story about bravery and facing your fears. 

After Darling read the story, students were given clues and they figured out he is a police officer. Darling then came out from behind stage with his K-9 partner Jaco. 

“This has been one of my favorite experiences on the job,” Darling told the students, encouraging them to read at every opportunity so they may exercise their brains.

According to the National Education Association’s website, motivating children to read is an important factor in student achievement and creating lifelong successful readers. Research has shown that children who are motivated and spend more time reading do better in school.

In addition to a school-wide assembly, students celebrated by dressing up as Dr. Seuss characters and participated in classroom activities.