HENDERSON, NV – Sequoia Holmes remembers Nevada Reading Week quite well. But, as she said Friday, "I never thought I’d be the reader."
Yet there she was on Dr. Seuss’s birthday, reading to a group of young students, clad in Seuss regalia, from Nevada Connections Academy – an online charter school in Nevada of about 3,200 students across the state, most of which live in the Las Vegas Valley.
As part of Nevada Reading Week Holmes, a guard for the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces, was the guest reader at the event at Silver Springs Rec Center in Henderson.
The North Las Vegas native starred on Mojave High School’s basketball team, then at UNLV, before continuing her career in the WNBA. When the Aces start the season in May she’ll have played high school, college, and professional basketball in her hometown.
Perhaps that’s why it meant so much to be in attendance Friday, celebrating Nevada Reading Week, this time as an adult.
"I think it’s important for professional athletes to…just allow the kids to see that they can achieve whatever they want no matter where they’re from or where they live. They can do it if they put their mind to it," Holmes said.
Sequoia Holmes of the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces reads to students of Nevada Connections Academy as part of Nevada Reading Week, Friday, March 2.
The students, ranging from kindergarten-aged to 8 years old, gathered in front of Holmes for story time as she read Seuss’s "There’s a Wocket in my Pocket."
After, she asked students to name some books they’ve read from the famous children’s author, and other questions, like "What is college?"
"It’s a school that you do after 12th grade," one student answered.
"A school that you go to school….after school," Holmes said, reaching into a bag of toys and tossing him a small foam basketball, confirming his correct answer.
It wasn’t all business though. The kids wanted to know: How tall is the average WNBA player? Also, does she know Steph Curry?
(For the record: Right around 6’1" tall, and "no," respectively, according to Holmes.)
Before Holmes, previous reading guests for the charter school included Gov. Brian Sandoval and Rep. Dina Titus, who read the students a book via her Washington, DC office. The charter school employs an online "glorified chat room" that allows students to attend class and ask questions from their computer, regardless of where they live in Nevada.
Holmes said she was happy to talk to the students about her career and teach them the importance of reading.
"It’s super cool," Holmes said of meeting with the kids. "Reading is a way to exercise the most important muscle, or organs in the body, our brain. So read to be knowledgeable."
Holmes was playing basketball overseas when she got the news that the San Antonio Stars would be relocating to Las Vegas to become the Aces. She said she’s excited to be back playing in the city where her career took off.
"It’s super exciting to be here. It will be fun," she said. "I was shocked and I was just like, ‘It’s amazing that we relocated here.’"
Holmes said she wasn’t even aware the franchise was considering changing cities.
"It was a surprise to me, I had no idea," she said.
The Aces start the season on the road May 20 in Connecticut. Their first home game is on May 27 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
Images via Lucas Thomas/Las Vegas Patch