Fisher Cats’ mascot kicks off Mastricola reading challenge

MERRIMACK – Mastricola Upper Elementary students enjoyed a special guest appearance from Fungo Fisher Cat on a re Monday afternoon. Fully equipped with books, games and trivia, the Fisher Cats mascot kicked off the school’s participation in the Fisher Cats Reading Challenge, presented by Velcro Companies.

Students who read five books outside of the school curriculum will earn two tickets to a Fisher Cats Reading Challenge game in 2017. At their chosen game, those students will be recognized for their achievements and get to play catch on the field before the game.

“The students of New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts continue to show a passion for reading, and what better way to reward that than tickets to a Fisher Cats game and the opportunity to play catch on the field,” said Jenna Raizes, Fisher Cats deputy general manager. “Developing a love for reading is so important to a young person’s education and our partnership with Velcro Companies helps us bring that message to thousands of students in this region.”

“The Reading Challenge is a key part of our commitment to education and lifelong learning,” said Frank Smigelski interim president of Velcro Companies for North America. “Velcro Companies is proud to support this program and we look forward to strengthening these students’ love of reading and bringing families together at Fisher Cats games this season.”

The Fisher Cats assembly, one of nearly 40 that Fungo will make this school year, highlighted the importance of developing strong reading skills for a student’s immediate goals and their long-term ambitions. Students were treated to a live reading of the popular book, “What Do You Do With An Idea?,” which promotes the values of creativity compassion and self-confidence.

Schools also have an incentive to encourage their students to complete the challenge. Schools with the highest student participation will share a $5,000 cash prize made possible by Velcro Companies and the Fisher Cats Foundation. This year’s prize will raise the total to $40,000 awarded through the reading program since 2011.

By the end of the academic year, the Fisher Cats will distribute more than 55,000 Reading Challenge bookmarks to at least 150 schools in New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts. These numbers will raise the program’s reach to more than 535,000 students since it began in 2007.

Through the partnership between the Fisher Cats and Velcro Companies, the Reading Challenge is free to all schools in New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts. To receive the program information, contact the Fisher Cats Community Relations team at 641-2005.

The Reading Challenge is a part of the Fisher Cats year-round effort to give back to local communities. Since 2007, the Fisher Cats and the Fisher Cats Foundation have provided more than $5 million in monetary and in-kind donations for thousands of organizations. In that time, the Fisher Cats Foundation has awarded $317,500 in scholarships to college-bound high school seniors.

Fisher Cats Opening Day 2018 is on Friday, April 13 against the Hartford Yard Goats, Double-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. Fisher Cats full and half-season tickets are available now and feature a wide variety of benefits, including up to $100 in Fisher Cash, access to exclusive events like on-field batting practice, team autograph signings and more. Visit for more information.