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(Charlotte Amalie, U.S. Virgin Islands, June 8, 2004) On Saturday, May 29, 2004, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Education & Youth, Senator Shawn-Michael Malone, held a fun day to celebrate the successful completion of his Reading to Achieve Book Club.
There were over 700 students who participated in the program from ten of the fourteen elementary schools in the St. Thomas/St. John District. "The fun day was my tribute to these students who volunteered to be in the program for the entire school year and to further reinforce the importance of reading. They deserved to be recognized and rewarded for their efforts and that was the purpose of the fun day," said Senator Malone.
The day began with a brief ceremony welcoming all in attendance and giving a brief history about the creation and implementation of the program. What made the program so special is that the reigning Miss. America, Erica Dunlap, read to the children in attendance and the 1990 Miss. America, Debbie Turner told an inspirational story about her struggles growing up with reading.
During Senator Malone's remarks, he emphasized the importance of the reading program to the audience. "We all have a responsibility to ensure that our children are equipped to excel on standardized tests and ultimately be adequately prepared to compete and be successful within today's world. This cannot be done unless our children understand the importance of perfecting their reading and comprehension skills," Senator Malone stated.
Participating trophies were given to all the schools that participated and plaques were presented to the reading coordinators who were responsible for the program in each school. In addition, the Senator secured the commitment of a technology firm contracted by the Department Education, to donate a laptop to each of the schools who participated in the program. "I was very pleased to announce that JDL Technologies will donate these laptops. I also extend my sincere gratitude to all of the sponsors who made 'Readinaire's on the Green' an absolute success. I would also like to thank the Commissioner of Education for allowing my office to go into the schools and implement the program," says Senator Malone.
"I intend to have this program implemented for the upcoming school year. I urge the public to log on to my on-line office at www.senatormalone.org to find out more about my Reading to Achieve Book Club Program," Senator Malone concluded.