Get R.E.A.L. is an in-school program that brings WWE Superstars into schools to deliver positive messages about Respect, Education, Achievement and Leadership, and how these four tenets can help students achieve their goals. The program is now being expanded around the world through the use of PSA messages and the distribution of materials, such as bookmarks and posters.
GET R. E. A. L. NEWS
WrestleMania XXV Reading Challenge kicks off
The winds blew as tumbleweeds swept through the dusty roads of an abandoned Texas town, a scene eerily reminiscent of a black and white country-western film. However, instead of dueling cowboys, WWE Superstars were enforcing something else — reading. ECW Champion Matt Hardy, MVP, Mark Henry and Raw Diva Layla were named spokespersons for the WrestleMania XXV Reading Challenge, beginning Oct. 12, and running through Jan. 12. (PHOTOS)
"I think it’s really cool that as positive role models we’re promoting the importance of reading," said Hardy, during a break from the photo shoot for the poster used to promote literacy. "Reading sometimes gets neglected, and what we want to do as WWE Superstars is remind teens that reading is cool and important for their future. Reading prepares you for being a successful adult in the real world. I wouldn’t be where I am today had it not been for reading."
The WrestleMania Reading Challenge enters its fourth year, and WWE is again tag teaming with the Young Adult Library Services Association, the youth division of the American Library Association, and approximately 1,800 local libraries across the country to get teens to engage in reading.
For SmackDown’s MVP, being named one of the national spokespersons for this year’s challenge didn’t come as a surprise.
"It was a natural selection. I’m better than everyone else. My intelligence is higher than everyone else’s. My reading ability and reading comprehension is through the roof," said the former United States Champion.
"Teens should read for the same reasons they should’ve 200 years ago. There’s information in books that can broaden your horizons and stimulate your mind," he continued.
In the U.S., teens in grades five through 12 are eligible to sign up for the program. Each teen will be asked to read a combination of 10 books and magazines. Students who turn in their completed reading logs will receive a WWE miniposter. Students can then enter a bookmark contest. Local libraries will then choose the best bookmark submitted from each age group. A panel of judges will choose 15 finalists, five from each grade category and different regions of the country. The 7th through 12th graders will go on to compete in the national finals in Houston, the host-city of WrestleMania XXV.
Along with attending the finals of the challenge, WWE will also host the finalists at WrestleMania, held on April 5 at Houston’s Reliant Stadium. The libraries sponsoring the finalists will each receive a $2,000 donation.
This year also marks the second year the program will be in the U.K., as WWE teams with the National Literacy Trust. With 2,500 schools competing, students have to write an essay persuading their favorite WWE Superstar to read one of the five books they read for the challenge. Six winners from the U.K. will win a trip to WrestleMania, but will not compete in the finals.
Layla, who has known people who were unable to read, mentioned the importance of getting teens to pick up a book and push themselves to the next level.
"If you’re going to be a mechanic, a wrestler, a singer or a dancer, you have to read first," the Raw Diva explained. "If you don’t like a certain book, find something or someone you are interested in — pick up a book about someone you love watching or a celebrity you admire."
Mark Henry, a University of Texas graduate, was honored to be named a spokesperson and be able to have the photo shoot in his home state.
"Reading helps you create imagination, which is essential to an individual’s growth. A lot of people set limits for themselves when they don’t read. They only experience what they hear and watch rather than what they see with their minds," Henry stated. "Reading has always kept my mind sharp and kept me entertained," the former ECW Champion continued. "Reading has enabled me to focus in my everyday life. Why starve for attention when you can go to another world all together by reading?"
WWE Superstars Share Get R.E.A.L. Message in India
WWE recently worked with its television partner in India, Ten Sports, around sharing the tenets of WWE's Get R.E.A.L. program with fans. WWE Superstars John Cena and Chris Jericho taped messages about what Get R.E.A.L. stands for--Respect, Education, Achievement and Leadership. Watch what the fans in India are seeing about Get R.E.A.L.
John Cena PSA-Respect
John Cena PSA-Education
John Cena PSA-Achievement
John Cena PSA-Leadership
Chris Jericho PSA-Respect
Chris Jericho PSA-Education
Chris Jericho PSA-Achievement
Chris Jericho PSA-Leadership
Superstars encourage students to read
COMPTON, Calif. — As the doors to Mrs. Perry’s fifth grade classroom swung open, student Johnny Hart’s mouth opened wide. Hart couldn’t believe his eyes. He frantically turned his head around to his classmates. “Oh my God! That’s MVP, of SmackDown,” whispered Hart, in an attempt not to disrupt Perry’s well-managed class environment.
SmackDown’s highest-paid Superstar, wearing one of his signature Italian, tailor-made black suits, black Gucci shoes, black Cartier sunglasses, and enough “ice” around his neck and wrist to freeze Southern California, strutted into class with ECW Diva Layla by his side. The former United States Champion and 2006 Diva Search winner were at Robert F. Kennedy Elementary School to encourage students to read.
As part of the Read Across America initiative, MVP and Layla, both of whom will be spokespeople for WWE's WrestleMania 25 Reading Challenge, along with Mr. Kennedy, Matt Hardy and Mark Henry, read student-selected books in front of Mrs. Perry's, Mr. Brown's and Mrs. White’s fifth grade classes.To read the full story, please click here.
WWE Wins Beacon Award for WrestleMania Reading Challenge Program
WWE recently won its first Beacon Award in the Community Relations-Other category. The Beacon Awards are the cable industries highest award for communications excellence. Cable operators, programming networks, cable associations and new technology partners are recognized for achievements in public affairs and communications initiatives in categories such as community relations, competitive response, and programming. The Beacon Award winners of 2008 achieve peer, industry and local market recognition for their exemplary work and set a standard for excellence for their colleagues to emulate.
Others receiving 2008 Beacon Awards were Comcast, Cox, Charter, Time Warner, Cablevision, Bright House, Lifetime, Fox Sports Network, Discovery Channel, MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Animal Planet, USA Network.
The WrestleMania Reading Challenge also has received an honorable mention from PR News in this year's national Corporate Social Responsibility competition. PR News' Corporate Social Responsibility Awards recognizes the year’s most outstanding communications initiatives and programs in the CSR arena. Winners and honorable mentions were honored in more than 30 categories for outstanding CSR efforts over the past year. WWE was a finalist in the Corporate Affairs category along with ChoicePoint, Sprint, and IKEA, which won top honors for its campaign to stop using plastic bags.
The WrestleMania Reading Challenge has grown from occasional library visits into a nationally recognized program, which in 2007/2008 impacted more than 30,000 high school and middle schools students and involved more than 1,170 libraries in 49 states. The program also has expanded into the United Kingdom with similar success.
O'Town reading showdown
ORLANDO, Fla. – An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but for 13-year-old David Silva and 16-year-old Ajoura Gwinn, a book a week earned them front row tickets to WrestleMania XXIV. (PHOTOS)
Silva, a seventh-grader from Elizabeth, N.J., and Gwinn, a high school sophomore from Pittsburgh, were crowned the winners of the 2008 WrestleMania Reading Challenge on Saturday morning. In front of family, friends, and hundreds of youngsters at the Downtown Branch of the Orlando Public Library, Silva and Gwinn each beat out four other regional finalists in their age groups – seventh and eighth grade for David, ninth through 12th for Ajoura – to claim their crowns. Sam Phillips, Louis Ellis and Lee Skelhorn, the three winners of the U.K. Reading Challenge, were also honored. To read the full story, please click here.
WrestleMania® Reading Challenge Finalists On Their Way To Orlando To Compete For National Championship
The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), the fastest-growing division of the American Library Association (ALA), and WWEâ (WWEâ) today announced the 10 regional finalists who will compete to become this year’s national WrestleMania Reading Challenge Champion. Each finalist won airfare, hotel, and spending cash for two to Orlando, tickets to WrestleMania XXIV in Orlando on March 30, 2008, $2,000 for their local or school library and a chance to compete in the WrestleMania Reading Challenge finals on March 29 at the Orlando Public Library.
This year’s regional finalists are in two categories, grades 7-8 and grades 9-12. Finalists in the grades 7-8 category are:
- Chris Thompson, Cave City, Ky., from LeGrande Elementary
- Laquan Deen, Homestead, Pa., from Carnegie Library of Homestead
- Emily Hardy, Seattle, Wash., from McClure Middle School
- Beau Snoad, Napolean, Ohio, from Napoleon Middle School Library
- David Silva, Orlando, Fla., from Orlando Public Library
Finalists in the grades 9-12 category are:
- Zacary Harper, Lake Wales, Fla., from Lake Wales Public Library
- Ajoura Gwinn, Munhall, Pa., from Carnegie Library of Homestead
- Amber Dales, Des Moines, Iowa, from Southeast Polk High School
- Arun Natarajan, Hicksville, N.Y., from Hicksville Public Library
- Kady Marie Peters, Orlando, Fla., from Orlando Public Library
The WrestleMania Reading Challenge, sponsored by YALSA, asked students in grades 7-12 to read 10 books between the start of Teen Read WeekÔ on October 14, 2007, and January 14, 2008. Each participant was required to submit a short reading log that described the books and magazines that had been read. Participants were then required to submit a short essay on the topic, “Why WrestleMania Got Me Reading.” The winning entry from each library was submitted to YALSA and five regional finalists were chosen in grades 7-8 and grades 9-12 categories to be national finalists.
“Partnering with WWE provides YALSA the chance to reach a wide audience of teens with a message about the vital role books, reading and libraries can play in their lives,” said YALSA President Paula Brehm-Heeger. “The WrestleMania Reading Challenge is a great way to highlight teens’ learning, accomplishments and, after discovering all of the great titles they've read for the Challenge, their knowledge of teen literature!”
For more than 50 years, YALSA has been the world leader in selecting books, films, and audiobooks for teens. For more information about YALSA or for lists of recommended reading, viewing and listening, go to www.ala.org/yalsa/booklists, or contact the YALSA office by phone, 800-545-2433, ext. 4390; or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.