Seniors never too old to share Dr. Seuss

March 8, 2012 5:23 am

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As high school senior Jenn Chomos began to read, a lot of giggling could be heard in the classroom from her younger sister, Kristen.

The chuckles persisted through most of Jenn's reading of "The Lorax," and afterward, Kristen admitted that it was "fun" to have her sister visit her fifth-grade classroom.

As part of Read Across America Day each year, high school seniors who attended Bradford Woods Elementary School are invited to come back and read a Dr. Seuss book to a class.

This year, 31 seniors accepted the invitation, the largest turnout in the six years of the program.

"I'm never sure if the high school kids are more excited -- or the staff," said Debra Somerhalder, Bradford Woods principal.

The Bradford Woods program has been so successful that two other North Allegheny elementary schools -- Ingomar and McKnight -- are now doing it as well, she said.

The program was conceived by Bradford Woods librarian Mimi Flaherty and reading specialist Jan Zinsser.

"It's really special at all levels," Mrs. Flaherty said. "So many kids we worried about when they left here and, here they are, these all-together seniors ready to go out and see the world."

The school entryway was decorated with photos of the seniors when they were fifth-graders, along with an autobiography they wrote in third grade.

A reception is held each year after school in the library so that teachers can meet with their former students.

Most of the seniors who attend do not have current ties to the elementary school.

But some do have a younger sibling there, such as the Chomos sisters, and an effort is made to put the siblings together.

Senior Tiara Chadron read to her brother, Noah's, fourth-grade class.

"I wanted go see Noah and all his friends and come back and see all the teachers," Tiara said.

"I'm happy," Noah said.

In another classroom, senior Zach Harvey read to his mother's third-grade class.

"I've been waiting a long time for this," teacher Nielle Harvey said.

"It's nice for my students to get to see him because I talk about my kids all the time in class."

"It's like it's come full-circle," Zach said.

Sandy Trozzo, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.
First Published 2012-03-08 04:25:55

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