Bilingual Buckeyes Visit Columbus Spanish Immersion Academy
Felipe Santibanez

March 19, 2012

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Pairing with the Second and Seven Foundation, Ohio State student-athletes helped promote literacy in the Columbus community through weekly elementary school readings last Tuesday. The reading had a special twist when the foundation went for a visit to the Columbus Spanish Immersion Academy. 

Sharing a story and personal message to the second graders, sophomores Omar Vallejo and Felipe Santibanez of the men's soccer team spoke to students about the importance of reading and hard work. Vallejo, from Reynosa, Mexico, and Santibanez, of Heredia, Costa Rica, are both bilingual in English and Spanish.  

"It's important for kids to realize the importance of books and reading in general," Vallejo said. "Obviously, most of these kids are bilingual or on the way to being bilingual just like Felipe and I, so it's good for them to see people who are like them and go to a good school and play a sport. For us, it was a really nice opportunity to share a little bit about our life and what we do."

Founded by three former Ohio State football players, the Second and Seven Foundation, which provides every student with a copy of its own book, The Hog Mollies and the Amazing Aquatic Adventure, reached nearly 5,000 second graders at more than 50 central Ohio schools during the 2010-11 school year.

"It [the reading] was a unique opportunity to show kids that there are student-athletes like them that speak both English and Spanish and it was something we don't get to usually do," Amy Hoying, program director said. "To promote literacy and show that whether you speak English or you speak Spanish is important and having members of the soccer team come was special for them."

For more information on the Second and Seven Foundation, visit: