MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Four thousand elementary students got to spend part of their day with the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum.
"I get to sit around with all my friends and have a good time," 4th grader Ariauna Williams said.
Williams is one of 15,000 students in 63 schools in the Mid-South to participate in the Grizzlies' annual reading challenge, "Read to Achieve." She was one of 4,000 to complete the challenge.
"I been wanting to be a part of this program for a long time. It took me a long time to read all the books that I read," Williams said.
Organizers said this year, students read at least six books in six weeks.
Grizzlies players Chandler Parsons, James Ennis, Toney Douglas, and Andrew Harrison met them at the finish line to recognize the young scholars' accomplishments.
"I thought we were going to talk to a couple of hundred kids," Harrison said. "There's so many kids out here, and they're so energetic. It just makes it better because it shows how many kids are doing the right thing."
Harrison said he wants the students to know even as a basketball star, you have to hit the books.
"Read to Achieve--it basically speaks for itself," Harrison said. "I just told the kids out there even as a basketball player, you have to read every day. Education is the most important thing."
Next year, he hopes to see even more students rise to the challenge.