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HP the Sharks Foundation and the San Jose Mercury news Team Up to Promote Literacy Through HP READING IS COOL

Annual Reading Rally to Encourage Local Students, Celebrate Reading Skills
SAN JOSE, CA

HP, The Sharks Foundation and the Mercury News will host the annual HPREADING IS COOL Reading Rally at 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, January 14, at the HP Pavilion at San Jose. More than 300 elementary students and their teachers will arrive at the HP Pavilion to join the San Jose Sharks in the celebration of this very successful literacy program, which is designed to encourage and reward local K-6th grade students who improve their reading levels.

HP, The Sharks Foundation and the Mercury News teamed up to create HPREADING IS COOL for elementary school students in Santa Clara County, Fremont, Union City and East Palo Alto public schools. The program provides teachers with a user-friendly classroom tool to help raise the reading levels of their students.

Now in its fifth year, the HPREADING IS COOL program continues to have a positive impact in the community. Nearly 900 K-6 public elementary school classrooms representing more than 21,000 students are participating in the effort to increase literacy and academic success. This year's HPREADING IS COOL program runs from October 2002 through May 2003 and is free to all eligible classrooms. -more- The fun-filled rally will kick off in the Rinkside Room of the HP Pavilion and feature the entire San Jose Sharks team, including Adam Graves, Teemu Selanne and Patrick Marleau, team mascot S.J. Sharkie and executives from HP, The Sharks Foundation and the Mercury News. Following the rally, students, teachers and teams of players and executives will move to penthouse and concourse suites throughout the Pavilion to share a few of their favorite stories. Schools participating in the rally include Arbuckle, Washington, Matsumoto, Stocklmeir and Spangler.

The HPREADING IS COOL program's goal of improving literacy levels includes rewards for classes and individuals who read the most books each month and who demonstrate the most improvement in their reading levels by the end of the school year. "Reading is the foundation for success in life, and we at HP believe that helping students improve their reading abilities now will benefit them their whole lives," said Deborah Dower, Director of Sales, HP U.S. Public Sector Organization. "Before we can bridge the digital divide or inspire the next generation of inventors, students must be literate."

Prizes include invitations to special Sharks practice sessions at HP Pavilion at San Jose, book deliveries by S.J. Sharkie, pizza parties compliments of Round Table Pizza, celebrity book readings, classroom videos produced by Fox Sports Net and rewards for top readers and most improved readers.

Participating teachers have indicated that the impact of HPREADING IS COOL is significant and has been reflected in increased confidence by the students in their renewed enthusiasm for reading and learning.

"The Sharks Foundation is dedicated to supporting youth and education throughout Santa Clara County," said Greg Jamison, President and CEO of the San Jose Sharks and The Sharks Foundation. "HP Reading is Cool is an excellent program that motivates students to read more, thus improving their literacy skills. We are proud to team up with HP and the Mercury News to improve the education of our children." -more- "The Mercury News is proud to co-sponsor the HP Reading is Cool program," said Mercury News President and Publisher Joe Natoli. "Obviously, increasing literacy is particularly important to the Mercury News. But, the benefit to the individual goes well beyond the ability to read a newspaper. We are grateful to HP and the Sharks for partnering with us on this important community initiative."

BACKGROUND

The HPREADING IS COOL program was launched in October 1998 as a partnership among Compaq, The Sharks Foundation and the Mercury News. The program is designed to increase literacy levels among public elementary school students by promoting reading enthusiasm and providing reward incentives for achievements in reading.

HPREADING IS COOL incorporates several individual elements intended to teach K-6th grade students the importance and value of reading and provides teachers with a user-friendly classroom tool that assists with raising student reading levels. Last year, more than 870,000 books were read. The program is free to all public elementary school classrooms in Santa Clara and Southern Alameda counties as well as East Palo Alto. More than 21,000 students representing 892 classrooms are currently participating.

Teachers and parents who are interested in learning more about the HPREADING IS COOL program can call (408) 999-5751 or visit the HPREADING IS COOL website at www.sjsharkie.com.

Associate sponsors of the HPREADING IS COOL program are Round Table Pizza and Fox Sports Net. For additional information about the sponsoring companies, go to www.hp.com, www.bayarea.com or www.sjsharks.com.


About HP

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