TULSA, Oklahoma - Tulsa’s Gathering Place wanted a student to represent the park as a goodwill ambassador.

Their search led them to Ariana Reagor, a Union student who loves to read, always has a smile on her face and has an infectious way about her.

Since becoming the Gathering Place Ambassador in 2017, Ariana has had a busy year promoting the park and encouraging kids to take part in the Reading Tree Challenge.

We caught up with Ariana as she was reading to these first and second graders at Moore Elementary, in the same classroom where she used to be a student.

“Hi, I'm Ariana, the ambassador for the Gathering Place, and I was in this classroom when I was your age, and you guys are so lucky to have Mrs. Grounds as a teacher,” Ariana said. “That's where I started writing my stories, a lot of stories.”

“Oh, Ariana was always a joy, always happy, always smiling, hard worker. She was a great student,” teacher Beth Grounds said.

This was her last year the elementary before moving to the sixth and seventh-grade center, but she will always have fond memories of this class and Mrs. Grounds.

“Would like to thank her for always encouraging us to write and read and do so much amazing stuff. Because of her, I'm a good speller, I'm a good reader and I'm a good writer,” Ariana said.

Grounds said, “It's like the best teacher's gift, ever. I mean, it's so rewarding to see that you have them for such a short time, but they take what you've taught them and just run with it. It's the best.”

Besides being involved in her own school, Ariana also participates in events at other elementaries. Recently, she visited Grove Elementary, the top school in the Reading Tree Challenge.

During the school year, students were challenged to read books and keep track. The goal? Two million books before the Gathering Place opens.

The kids at Grove Elementary in the Union District read more than 121,000 books, so they received special recognition and a medal for their efforts.

LeAnne: “I'm LeAnne Taylor with the News On 6. You guys may be familiar with one of our friends, Ariana Reagor. Ariana guess what? We hit the two million mark on the books.”
Ariana: “Yes!”

And Ariana has been there, with a smile and an encouraging word, promoting reading and the park that she can't wait to share with everyone.

The staff at Gathering Place hopes parents and educators can come together at the reading tree and inspire the next generation to travel to places and times, simply by opening a book.