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Volunteers Honored for Sharing the Gift of Reading

Apri1 1, 2008 — The Rev. Florence Petersen drove home the point that reading is truly fundamental Tuesday to a group of volunteer readers seated in the library named for her mother, the late Athalie McFarlane Petersen.
"When you read, you can go beyond St. Croix," she said.
The occasion was the annual recognition ceremony for members of the Athalie McFarlane Petersen Volunteer Readers Club, a program with the Adopt-A-School Initiative (ASI). Sen. Usie Richards founded the program to solicit services and financial support to aid in the academic development of students, among other goals.
Also in attendance were Petersen's other children, Loretta, Donald and Alicia; her granddaughter Renee; and her namesake and great-granddaughter, 7-year-old Athalie Alvarez.
Alvarez, who turns 8 Tuesday, read an ode that used the initials of Athalie Petersen's first name to describe her.
"A is for amazing," Athalie Alvarez read, with assistance from Sen. Richards. She ended the tribute with "E is for eternal: She will live in our hearts."
Florence Petersen said her family appreciates ASI making Athalie McFarlane Petersen a household name.
"Next to the love for her family, mommy loved reading," she said at the three-hour ceremony, held on the day her mother would have turned 87. "She read as long as she could — well into her 80s."
The Petersen matriarch died in 2003 at age 82 and left behind a legacy for the love of reading. She was the founding member of the St. Croix Library Association and was later honored by the 14th Legislature, which named the Frederiksted Library after her in recognition of her role in spearheading its renovation.
Both children and adults were honored Tuesday for devoting time over the last five years to read to students in grades K-6 at the following adopted schools: Charles Emmanuel, Claude O. Markoe, Eulalie R. Rivera and Lew Muckle.
Among the honorees were 13-year-old JoAnn Thomas Lewis, the 2008 Territorial Spelling Bee Champion, and 9-year-old Ki'Anna Watson, the 2008 St. Croix District Spelling Bee Champion. The adults included well-known faces in the community: Jamal Nielsen, May Adams Cornwall, Sherryann A. Wiltshire, Yolanda Bryan, Larry Joshua, Gwendolyn R. Brady, Shelby King-Gaddy, Matthew Gaddy, Laverne Joseph, Sandra Setorie, Asta Williams and Donna "Asheba" Samuel, V.I. National Guard Captain Marise James and attorney Dianne Russell.
Richards singled out Samuel — whose stories, he said, were never read directly out of a book — to do what she does best. To the audience's delight, she retold one of the sundry stories of old West Indian favorite, Anansi.
Samuel says she uses interactive storytelling to get to know children and "to share my culture." Most of her stories are taken from books translated by the late UVI Professor Lesmore Emmanuel, she said.
Sen. Richards also praised the V.I. National Guard, which he said has supported ASI since its inception, and each year recommends members who volunteer to read to students.
As part of the reader's club program, students receive a 15 percent discount card that can be used toward the purchase of books from stores like Educational Central, Richards said.
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Apri1 1, 2008 -- The Rev. Florence Petersen drove home the point that reading is truly fundamental Tuesday to a group of volunteer readers seated in the library named for her mother, the late Athalie McFarlane Petersen.
"When you read, you can go beyond St. Croix," she said.
The occasion was the annual recognition ceremony for members of the Athalie McFarlane Petersen Volunteer Readers Club, a program with the Adopt-A-School Initiative (ASI). Sen. Usie Richards founded the program to solicit services and financial support to aid in the academic development of students, among other goals.
Also in attendance were Petersen's other children, Loretta, Donald and Alicia; her granddaughter Renee; and her namesake and great-granddaughter, 7-year-old Athalie Alvarez.
Alvarez, who turns 8 Tuesday, read an ode that used the initials of Athalie Petersen's first name to describe her.
"A is for amazing," Athalie Alvarez read, with assistance from Sen. Richards. She ended the tribute with "E is for eternal: She will live in our hearts."
Florence Petersen said her family appreciates ASI making Athalie McFarlane Petersen a household name.
"Next to the love for her family, mommy loved reading," she said at the three-hour ceremony, held on the day her mother would have turned 87. "She read as long as she could -- well into her 80s."
The Petersen matriarch died in 2003 at age 82 and left behind a legacy for the love of reading. She was the founding member of the St. Croix Library Association and was later honored by the 14th Legislature, which named the Frederiksted Library after her in recognition of her role in spearheading its renovation.
Both children and adults were honored Tuesday for devoting time over the last five years to read to students in grades K-6 at the following adopted schools: Charles Emmanuel, Claude O. Markoe, Eulalie R. Rivera and Lew Muckle.
Among the honorees were 13-year-old JoAnn Thomas Lewis, the 2008 Territorial Spelling Bee Champion, and 9-year-old Ki'Anna Watson, the 2008 St. Croix District Spelling Bee Champion. The adults included well-known faces in the community: Jamal Nielsen, May Adams Cornwall, Sherryann A. Wiltshire, Yolanda Bryan, Larry Joshua, Gwendolyn R. Brady, Shelby King-Gaddy, Matthew Gaddy, Laverne Joseph, Sandra Setorie, Asta Williams and Donna "Asheba" Samuel, V.I. National Guard Captain Marise James and attorney Dianne Russell.
Richards singled out Samuel -- whose stories, he said, were never read directly out of a book -- to do what she does best. To the audience's delight, she retold one of the sundry stories of old West Indian favorite, Anansi.
Samuel says she uses interactive storytelling to get to know children and "to share my culture." Most of her stories are taken from books translated by the late UVI Professor Lesmore Emmanuel, she said.
Sen. Richards also praised the V.I. National Guard, which he said has supported ASI since its inception, and each year recommends members who volunteer to read to students.
As part of the reader's club program, students receive a 15 percent discount card that can be used toward the purchase of books from stores like Educational Central, Richards said.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.