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Charlotte Amalie
Friday, May 27, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesSummer Readers Rewarded with Medals, Sky Rides, and Day of Fun

Summer Readers Rewarded with Medals, Sky Rides, and Day of Fun

Good books can always take children on adventures, and this was never more the case than on Saturday, when hundreds of little readers were rewarded with a cherry picker ride into the sky above Emancipation Garden.

Members of the V.I. Fire Service led the bucket truck excursions as part of the closing celebration for the Third Annual Summer Reading Challenge.

The Challenge, which helps stave off summer knowledge loss by keeping kids’ brains busy, was organized by Gov. John deJongh Jr.’s office, the V.I. Education Department, the V.I. Public Libraries System, and Learn It Systems.

A similar Fun Day celebration took place last Sunday, Oct. 23, on St. Croix, and St. John will be hosting their Fun Day next Saturday, Nov. 5.

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All the kindergarten through sixth-graders who participated in the Challenge – and there were nearly 500 of them across the territory – read at least five books during the summer break, lead St. Thomas organizer Sekoia Rogers said.

Some read many more than five books over the summer, like Dora the Explorer connoisseur, 8-year-old Kei’Daesha Martin, who read 15 books. Kei’Daesha and her two siblings proudly wore the yellow-ribboned medals that were bestowed upon the readers.

Across the park, Ulla Muller Elementary School second-grader Joseph Burke tightly grasped the string tied to his blue balloon. Joseph said his favorite summer book was Dr. Suess’s “The Cat in the Hat.”

“Reading is fun and you can learn new words,” Joseph said. His older brother, Michael Walters, was there to celebrate Joseph’s accomplishments alongside him.

Under the nearby crafting tent, mom Monique Simon espoused the virtues of summer reading for her 8-year-old daughter, Deja-Marie.

“It helps her to develop her vocabulary, and plus she just loves reading,” Simon said. “So having this program just enticed me to help her keep up with it.”

Deja-Marie, who wants to be an artist when she grows up, was creating a sign that said “Summer Reading is Fun.” She said she learned a great deal about mosquitoes from one of her summer reads.

“It’s really, really fun,” Deja-Marie said, “every time I come home I read.”

Scores of volunteers helped manage the afternoon’s activities, which included jumping in an inflatable castle, dancing to a deejay’s tunes, and face painting.

All Saints Cathedral School senior Briana Lettsome was busy handing out reusable lunch sacks to children and collecting satisfaction surveys from adults. Briana said she was there with other members of her school’s Interact Club.

“I’m really proud to be a part of this,” Briana said, taking just a brief break from her work to chat.

St. Thomas-St. John School District Deputy Superintendent Michael Harrigan distributed bottles of water to hard-working volunteers. Harrigan said the district’s number-one priority is improving student achievement.

“This fits in like a champ,” Harrigan said of the Challenge.

Harrigan was joined by Lockhart Elementary School fourth-grader James Nosty, who joyfully retold the plot of his favorite book. James could not remember the tome’s title, but he easily recalled its characters, who included a book store owner who loves cheese and a cat who loves rats.

Nosty and Harrigan were in the crowd gathered by the fire truck. When the bucket returned to the ground with one group of children, a fireman firmly announced that the rides were for kids only. Harrigan shrugged and said he would wait until the children’s interest died down to take another crack at getting a bucket ride.

Walking back toward the park’s center, Harrigan turned around to look at the truck. The line for the best adventure of the day was only getting bigger. Harrigan smiled, realizing that the children’s interest was not going to abate.

After being rewarded for reading with a birds-eye view of Fort Christian, the harbor’s sparkling waters, and their waving parents, who seemed so tiny on the ground from the vantage point of the bucket, it was looking very likely that these kids would want to keep hitting the books.

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Good books can always take children on adventures, and this was never more the case than on Saturday, when hundreds of little readers were rewarded with a cherry picker ride into the sky above Emancipation Garden.

Members of the V.I. Fire Service led the bucket truck excursions as part of the closing celebration for the Third Annual Summer Reading Challenge.

The Challenge, which helps stave off summer knowledge loss by keeping kids' brains busy, was organized by Gov. John deJongh Jr.'s office, the V.I. Education Department, the V.I. Public Libraries System, and Learn It Systems.

A similar Fun Day celebration took place last Sunday, Oct. 23, on St. Croix, and St. John will be hosting their Fun Day next Saturday, Nov. 5.

All the kindergarten through sixth-graders who participated in the Challenge – and there were nearly 500 of them across the territory – read at least five books during the summer break, lead St. Thomas organizer Sekoia Rogers said.

Some read many more than five books over the summer, like Dora the Explorer connoisseur, 8-year-old Kei'Daesha Martin, who read 15 books. Kei'Daesha and her two siblings proudly wore the yellow-ribboned medals that were bestowed upon the readers.

Across the park, Ulla Muller Elementary School second-grader Joseph Burke tightly grasped the string tied to his blue balloon. Joseph said his favorite summer book was Dr. Suess's “The Cat in the Hat.”

“Reading is fun and you can learn new words,” Joseph said. His older brother, Michael Walters, was there to celebrate Joseph's accomplishments alongside him.

Under the nearby crafting tent, mom Monique Simon espoused the virtues of summer reading for her 8-year-old daughter, Deja-Marie.

“It helps her to develop her vocabulary, and plus she just loves reading,” Simon said. “So having this program just enticed me to help her keep up with it.”

Deja-Marie, who wants to be an artist when she grows up, was creating a sign that said “Summer Reading is Fun.” She said she learned a great deal about mosquitoes from one of her summer reads.

“It's really, really fun,” Deja-Marie said, “every time I come home I read.”

Scores of volunteers helped manage the afternoon's activities, which included jumping in an inflatable castle, dancing to a deejay's tunes, and face painting.

All Saints Cathedral School senior Briana Lettsome was busy handing out reusable lunch sacks to children and collecting satisfaction surveys from adults. Briana said she was there with other members of her school's Interact Club.

“I'm really proud to be a part of this,” Briana said, taking just a brief break from her work to chat.

St. Thomas-St. John School District Deputy Superintendent Michael Harrigan distributed bottles of water to hard-working volunteers. Harrigan said the district's number-one priority is improving student achievement.

“This fits in like a champ,” Harrigan said of the Challenge.

Harrigan was joined by Lockhart Elementary School fourth-grader James Nosty, who joyfully retold the plot of his favorite book. James could not remember the tome's title, but he easily recalled its characters, who included a book store owner who loves cheese and a cat who loves rats.

Nosty and Harrigan were in the crowd gathered by the fire truck. When the bucket returned to the ground with one group of children, a fireman firmly announced that the rides were for kids only. Harrigan shrugged and said he would wait until the children's interest died down to take another crack at getting a bucket ride.

Walking back toward the park's center, Harrigan turned around to look at the truck. The line for the best adventure of the day was only getting bigger. Harrigan smiled, realizing that the children's interest was not going to abate.

After being rewarded for reading with a birds-eye view of Fort Christian, the harbor's sparkling waters, and their waving parents, who seemed so tiny on the ground from the vantage point of the bucket, it was looking very likely that these kids would want to keep hitting the books.