Alumni Authors: Reading School District Graduates Pen Stories of Their Success
Reading School District is proud to share the stories of alumni who follow their passions and find success. These two Reading alums have recently published their first books; if you’re looking for a summer read, we suggest adding these to your list!
Ashley Giddens ’06 published her first book in January 2022, My Blueprint to Become a Queen of the Castle. This book follows her journey as a teen athlete, learning how to master her craft while navigating family challenges. Giddens graduated from the California University of Pennsylvania with a master’s degree in Sports Management and returned to Reading School District as the Girls' Assistant Varsity Basketball Coach.
In an interview with bctv.org, Giddens said she wrote her story to inspire and encourage other young athletes. “A proud alumnus is someone who is positive in their community,” she shares. “You use your attributes to help someone else. You use your light to help someone else.”
Not only does Giddens support the community through her coaching at Reading School District, but she also finds other ways to support Berks County youth. Giddens runs Queens of the Castle, a youth basketball clinic. In addition, she manages a scholarship fund that awards $1,000 to a female athlete entering their first year of college and runs a healthy meal-prepping business, among other ventures.
“We are proud to have Ashley Giddens back at Reading School District,” shares Waldo Alvarado, Principal at Reading High School. “She’s sharing her story to encourage students to reach their goals and know they can overcome challenges. That's a wonderful feeling when you invest back into your community.”
Giovanni Negron-Garcia ’17 published his novel, Passion, Purpose, and the Pursuit of Happiness, in February 2022. This motivational speaker’s novel tackles concepts like how to find your passion, chase your purpose in life, and use your natural talents and gifts to unlock your happiness and inspire others.
In a Socially Connected 360 video podcast, Negron-Garcia offers advice for students thinking about college, including the advice “you can do it!” He shares that students may sometimes experience failure, but it doesn’t need to derail a college experience. There is no perfect route, and the critical part is to know you can succeed. Negron-Garcia also shares the importance of supporting youth and understanding their needs in the community.
Negron-Garcia graduated from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in Communication and Media Studies in 2021 and is currently studying for his master’s degree at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
“These are two examples of the many wonderful success stories from Reading School District,” says Alvarado. “We love to hear how our alumni are chasing their dreams. Giddens and Negron-Garcia are giving back to the community and uplifting others, and we’re so proud to see how they’re supporting Reading youth.”
If you know a Reading High School graduate who is inspiring others, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Inspiring Alumni”, along with contact information. We’d love to learn about our alumni.