DCC Op-Ed with Dr. Jerry Wallace: 'Ace the Mighty' Book Tour Leaves Lasting Impact on Southside

It has been more than seven months since we announced the Danville Community College Literacy Project titled ‘Ace the Mighty Conquers Knight School’ at the Danville Pittsylvania County Morning Brew Event last July.

Dr. Jerry Wallace and Faith O'Neil stand in front of a banner for Ace the Mighty holding a small dog and a book


What began as an idea to increase our outreach and program offerings in the K-12 space, quickly evolved into a beautifully illustrated children’s book that features my dog, Ace, and his harrowing journey to become a knight, despite many disadvantages, obstacles, and setbacks.


With education announced as the number one priority of the City of Danville, DCC rose to the occasion by developing a comprehensive literacy program around ‘Ace the Mighty’ for children in 2nd – 4th grade. By emphasizing grit, determination, and persistence through this exciting story, we have been able to deliver the important message of “trying your best and never giving up” to children across Southside Virginia.


The program consists of 30 action-packed minutes of reading, learning Ace's Three Rules (Reading is Fun , Try Your Best - Never Give Up, Always Be Kind), recognition for exceptional students through our interaction with their teachers, trivia, prizes, and, of course, head-pats for Ace on the way back to class.


As we depart each school, each student receives a commemorative 'Ace the Mighty' button pin and bookmark, as well as the opportunity to participate in our 'Ace the Mighty' Coloring Contest.


Through the power of storytelling, we've been able to transport local children to far-off lands, introduce them to unforgettable characters, and instill in them the joy of discovering new worlds through literature.



Dr. Jerry Wallace and Faith O'Neil standing in front of group of kids seated with their hands raised


Since then, the project has taken on a life of its own and I am happy to share the incredible success of the ‘Ace the Mighty’ Book Tour. Co-author Faith O’Neil, Director of Marketing & Public Relations, and I have visited 22 elementary schools across three localities (City of Danville, Pittsylvania County, and Halifax County) impacting approximately 2300 2nd-4th graders.

Dr. Jerry Wallace and Faith O'Neill seated at a table with banners of Ace the Mighty behind them. A small dog is on Dr. Wallace's lap

Beyond the numbers, the real magic of the 'Ace the Mighty' Book Tour lies in the connections forged between our institution and the elementary schools we visited.


We've witnessed the sparkle in children's eyes as they eagerly listened to tales of adventure and courage. We've seen teachers inspired to incorporate more reading activities into their classrooms, and parents encouraged to spend more quality time reading with their children at home.