Recorder: "Federal Street School celebrates Read Across America at GCC "

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By JOSHUA SOLOMON 

Recorder Staff

Thursday, March 02, 2017

GREENFIELD — With their feet dangling in college auditorium chairs, they giggled to rhymes read in pairs.

The Greenfield Community College president read to the Federal Street first-graders, reciting Dr. Seuss to an auditorium without haters.

Celebrating national Read Across America Day, the kids came to the college for a few hours of Dr. Seuss-themed activities to keep them at bay.

“It’s a great joy to have the kids to come to the school,” Greenfield Community College President Bob Pura said.

The college helped local kids celebrate the National Education Association’s Read Across America Day, which is bookmarked by the March 2, 1904 birthday of Springfield native, Theodor Seuss Geisel. The day also kicks off national literacy month.

Pura read to the auditorium full of first-graders the Dr. Seuss book “Happy Birthday To You!” before the students broke up into two groups for arts and science activities.

“A western Mass. poet and I think he like no other understands the world through a kids’ eyes,” Pura said.

The day’s three-hour activities is through the Early College Awareness program, run through the college’s AmeriCorps program, with their partner, the Federal Street School. In May GCC’s AmeriCorps will host a graduation for the first-graders. Meanwhile during the rest of the year volunteers, some current students at the college, help out in the students’ schools.

“A special day like today they get to come to the college and come to the classrooms and meet the president,” AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer coordinator Christina Chin said.

Chin noted how significant it was for kids to come to the college at young age, as research continues to show how important it is for kids to be exposed to higher education.

She hopes for more events for the kids at GCC — even possibly getting local astronaut Catherine G. “Cady” Coleman to speak to them.

AmeriCorps hopes to hold more events, independent of the college, to help engage the local youth community. “In the future we hope to lead one of these events on our own,” AmeriCorps team member Katherine Tallman said.

Fellow team members were excited to work with a group of kids who were eager to learn.

“It’s nice to be able to interact with different age groups and different people than I’m used to,” AmeriCorps team member Luke Johnson said. “But also the kids seem to love it. They’re having a blast.”

For teachers, it is always great for their students, no matter how young, to get used to the college environment.

“It’s a wonderful way for our community to offer enrichment to the students at the elementary schools,” first-grade teacher Elizabeth Potter said.

Reach Joshua Solomon at:

jsolomon@recorder.com

413-772-0261, ext. 264