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Archer High wrestlers read Christmas stories at Cooper Elementary

Archer High sophomore Thomas Bullard discusses a Christmas book he read to first-grade students at Cooper Elementary on Friday. Bullard, a state and national champion wrestler at 145 pounds, also showed the students his state title ring, and talked about the commitment required to wrestle. (Staff Photo: Keith Farner)

Archer High sophomore Thomas Bullard discusses a Christmas book he read to first-grade students at Cooper Elementary on Friday. Bullard, a state and national champion wrestler at 145 pounds, also showed the students his state title ring, and talked about the commitment required to wrestle. (Staff Photo: Keith Farner)

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Archer High sophomore Thomas Bullard discusses a Christmas book he read to first-grade students at Cooper Elementary on Friday. Bullard and several of his teammates read to the Cooper students for the second straight year as a way to give back to the community. (Staff Photo: Keith Farner)

LOGANVILLE — In what is becoming an annual tradition, the Archer wrestling team visited Cooper Elementary on Friday to offer some Christmas cheer.

It’s the second straight year coach Tom Beuglas’ team visited his son’s school to read books to students. Beuglas said the event began last year when he brainstormed for a way to do something in the community to give back. Beuglas said that the wrestlers typically have an even better time than the Cooper students, who enjoy the visit.

Because most of the 35 kids in Archer’s youth program attend Cooper, some were aware of the wrestling program’s success.

Last year, the Tigers won 13 tournaments, including the Gwinnett County championship and Area 8 titles, and had 14 state tournament qualifiers, including 12 placers, three runner-ups and four champs.

The Bullard twins, Thomas and Daniel, also won national championships last season in Virginia Beach, Va. Thomas Bullard read to students Friday in Suzanne Cottrell’s first-grade class a book called “Snowmen at Christmas.”

“They love people coming and reading, especially high schoolers,” Cottrell said. “They enjoy it, because some of them have siblings that are in middle school or high school, and they just connect with them.”

While some of her students were aware of the magnitude of the championship success Archer wrestling has enjoyed, Cottrell said she expected to share with them more about it.

“They’re leaders in our community,” she said.

Bullard, a sophomore who won his titles in the 145-pound category last season, answered questions from the students about wrestling and the time commitment it takes.

“It’s really fun, it’s good just to see them being so young and so excited,” Bullard said. “The fact that I can make a big difference, make their day happy, is kind of cool. Maybe one of them will be a wrestler one day and I’ll see them wrestle.”

Bullard said when he was elementary age, he recalled looking up to older cousins and other role models, and being surprised if they made a visit like he just did.

The visit was another example of an ongoing relationship between the schools as Archer often sends football players, wrestlers, cheerleaders and other peer volunteers to read to the youngsters.