Teens at the Reading Entertainment Center get a surprise celebrity visit

    A group of reading teens got a surprise Saturday when a Hollywood actor appeared to judge cooking a chicken wing at the Reading Entertainment Center.

    “In a sudden and almost implausible turn of events, our judging guest on the celebrity chicken wing was none other than Hollywood actor Robert Christopher Riley, who stars in the Netflix show ‘Dynasty’,” said Daphne Klahre, CEO of the panel. “Riley is the future son-in-law of one of our employees. Former and Current Volunteer, Thomas Gonzalez”.

    Volunteer and actor Robert Christopher Riley at the Reading Entertainment Center judges chicken wings cooked on Saturdays by teens at the Reading Entertainment Center (Courtesy of the Reading Entertainment Committee)
    Reading and Recreation Center volunteer Thomas Gonzalez and actor Robert Christopher Riley judge chicken wings cooked Saturday by teens at the Reading Recreation Center. (Courtesy of the Reading Entertainment Committee)

    Gonzalez arranged the visit of the temporary representative.

    Kelher said the kids weren’t expecting to meet a celebrity when they gathered on Saturday for the final session of the Entertainment Committee’s Teen Success Program.

    The educational series takes place weekly on Saturdays beginning in April, bringing teens together at Rec Center, 320 S. Third St. , to learn driving skills through fun and self-directed activities.

    It ended up being a chicken wing cooking challenge.

    Kelher said after judging the wings, Riley spent time chatting with the kids and playing pool. He also gave each participant a $50 gift card.

    Kahlher said the show will be presented again next spring, although she can’t promise any celebrity visits.

    Franklin Vasquez, 15 years old;  Anthony Gomez, 14 years old;  Volunteer Thomas Gonzalez;  Shaylynn Bailey, 15 years old;  Robert Christopher Riley and Danielle Velazquez, 17;  Savor chicken wings on Saturday at Reading Rick Center.  Riley, star of Netflix series Dynasty, surprised teens by coming forward to judge their ward's cook (courtesy of the Reading Entertainment Committee)
    Franklin Vasquez, 15, Anthony Gomez, 14, volunteer Thomas Gonzalez, Shailene Bailey, 15, Robert Christopher Riley and Danielle Velazquez, 17, savor chicken wings Saturday at the Reading Entertainment Center. Riley, the star of Netflix’s “Dynasty,” surprised the teens by coming in to judge their suite’s cooking. (Courtesy of the Reading Entertainment Committee)

    She said that last weekend was a busy Reading Entertainment Committee with two more events for teens in the city.

    “I’m happy with how well everything worked,” Kelher said.

    Activities began Friday night with the opening jockeys at Rec at Third Recreation Center and Spruce.

    The new program focuses on socialization in a safe environment.

    It arose from discussions with the city’s youth, who requested more programs for teens.

    She said nearly 40 teens, from ninth through twelfth grades, spent the evenings playing basketball, volleyball, billiards, table tennis and esports, and dancing to music performed by DJ Kidd Nicee.

    “One of the kids told me this is ‘cool’ and that he ‘likes to hang out with his friends,'” Kalher said.

    The teens also enjoyed a visit from K9 Officer Rex, who appeared with permission from the Reading Police Department.

    The free event was made possible with the support of volunteers from the community, the city police department, reading school district security guards and rehabilitation center staff.

    Saturday night, the Entertainment Committee held the first charity basketball game between the Potts against the Badges.

    Several hundred spectators demonstrated to watch members of the city’s police and fire departments lead opposing teams of city youth on the field at the Jijel Sports Complex at Reading High School.

    “These kids are ringing. Kelher said she heard one of the firefighters say.

    Kelher said the girls on the police team were thrilled to meet and play with one of the female officers from the department.

    Clare thanked Luke Schultz, a firefighter and member of the rehabilitation committee, and Officer Steve Butler for organizing the charity event.

    Proceeds go to the Rec.