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Rotary St. Thomas II Creates Virtual Reading Program For Lockhart School

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Rotary St. Thomas II in partnership with Toastmasters and Rotaract created an amazing virtual reading program for 3rd graders from Lockhart Elementary School. The program began on November 7, 2020 and 38 students participated together each Saturday morning for 20 weeks. Guests of the Board of Education, Rotary, parents, etc. also attended weekly. The program had a truly positive impact on the lives of our students.

A closing ceremony was held on Saturday, March 20, 2021 in which participating students spoke about their experiences in the program, were presented with gift bags containing personalized certificates honoring each students’ participation, a book, a T-shirt commemorating the program, and other gifts. Arrangements were made for these gift bags to be delivered to every participating student.

The goal was to connect students to books, authors, and each other and to encourage reading during Covid 19 when they were not attending school in person. The program was devised and organized by Rotarian Sinclair Wilkinson, New Generations Youth Services Director of Rotary St. Thomas II, with the support of Rotary II’s President Vernice Gumbs. Merle Vanterpool, Lynda Edmead-Glasford and Edgar Austero, along with the encouragement of Lockhart Principal Audrey Bowry were weekly participants as well.

Each week different members of Rotary II and Toastmasters selected a specific topic and a book to read online with the students. This was interspersed with discussions and questions posed to the children as well as various word and book games and special readings by local authors of children’s books, etc.

Rotarian Al Laborde worked diligently to develop PowerPoints of books and handled all the technical aspects of the creation and presentation of the weekly programs online.

Various weekly topics included Virgin Islands History with a session on the Tainos, the origin of the flag of the of the VI, historical sites in the Virgin Islands, Covid 19 and why students had to remain at home, nutrition, healthy eating and exercise, Thanksgiving, the history of Valentine’s Day, teamwork among students, life under water, inventors, and more…

The program was fully funded by Rotary St. Thomas II. The club hopes to continue the program soon and to expand to other schools and districts in the VI.

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Marilyn Blackhall

Marilyn Blackhall

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