Whittier School Literacy Night

March 23, 2010
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By Amy Whynott Morrill

For Dr. Seuss’ Birthday on Tuesday, March 2, the Whittier School celebrated by bringing together members of the community, students and parents. Everyone joined together to share dinner, to listen to students recite poetry, and to play a bit of Bingo. Over 300 people attended the two-hour long event.

A buffet dinner of salad, pizza and dessert was generously supplied by the Everett Rotary Club. “We’ve kind of adopted the Whittier School,” said a gracious Tim LaRovere, president of the Rotary Club. “It is a pleasure for us to work with the Everett Public Schools, particularly with an event such as this.”

Sal’s Pizza on Broadway provided the buffet. Owners William and Debora were also excited to be part of such an event. “We like to help the schools. We are pleased when they call us for such events.”

While dinner was consumed, the winners of the Whittier School’s First Annual Poetry Recitation Contest entertained everyone with the poems of Shel Silverstein, Jack Prelutsky and Robert Frost. Every child that recited before the packed cafeteria beamed with self confidence and pride. “The contest encouraged students to read a variety of poet’s works and to practice their elocutionary skills,” said Amy W. Morrill, Title One Reading Specialist. “The contest tied in beautifully with the Massachusetts Frameworks and this Literacy Night was a great forum to highlight the students’ talents.”

The walls of the cafeteria were hung with poems written by students from kindergarten through grade eight. These were the winners of the Poetry Writing Contest. The topics included snowfalls, baseball, a favorite teacher and a broken heart. Excited students circulated the cafeteria to show their parents the poems that they had written. Jessica Pham, a first grader in Mrs. Alconada’s class, proudly pointed out her work to her father, mother and older sister, Alisa. “I did that!” Jessica proudly announced. “I wrote that one about winter!”

Other students concentrated on the pizza and a chance to sit and talk with parents and teachers. Daniel Costa, also a first grader in Mrs. Alconada’s class, sat with his mother and reading teacher to talk about books. “I really like when I get to read with someone,” said Daniel. “I hope I win a book when we play Bingo!”

After dinner, the tables were cleared and Bingo cards passed out giving students and parents a chance to play together. Eighth grade students aptly nicknames, “The Bingo Team” assisted by rolling the Bingo cage, teaching students how to play Bingo, and distributing prizes. Hundreds of bookmarks, pencils and erasers were distributed to all who played. Bingo winners won books. They happily clutched the latest copies of “Hannah Montana” and “The 39 Clues”

Mrs. MacLaughlin, principal of the Whittier School, was pleased with the event. “It is wonderful to have a turn-out like this. We are grateful for all of the support from the Everett Rotary Club, our teachers, and our PTO. They, along with the parents, make a strong team. Events like this showcase what a community can do when it works together.”