Community

Rotary's Pumpkin Patch pays off for local kids

Representatives of the Marysville School District are flanked by members of the Marysville Noon Rotary as they show off their checks from “Pumpkins for Literacy” at the Smokey Point Plant Farm Oct. 25. -
Representatives of the Marysville School District are flanked by members of the Marysville Noon Rotary as they show off their checks from “Pumpkins for Literacy” at the Smokey Point Plant Farm Oct. 25.
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SMOKEY POINT — The Marysville, Arlington and Lakewood school districts once again received support from the Marysville Noon Rotary’s “Pumpkins for Literacy” program, which presented representatives of those schools with checks at the Smokey Point Plant Farm Oct. 25.

Tom Thetford, president of the Marysville Noon Rotary, explained that “Pumpkins for Literacy” supports 20 elementary schools within those districts, not only by presenting each with a check for $1,000, but also by providing dictionaries to all their third-grade students. In addition, the Rotary supports special literacy programs at schools whose teachers submit them for grant applications.

“Last year, we netted a total of $47,000, every penny of which went right back into those school districts,” Thetford said. “This is probably one of the most unique cooperative programs that exists in this county.”

Thetford praised the public for helping Rotary support the schools, to the tune of an estimated $200,000 over the course of the past decade.

Speaking on behalf of the Marysville School District, Kellogg Marsh Elementary Principal John Waldrop explained that the “Pumpkins for Literacy” funds have allowed Marysville grade school students to “read at their own ability levels,” by investing in library collections for each classroom, in addition to the library for the school as a whole.

“Books are expensive and every bit of money helps,” Waldrop said.

Pioneer Elementary Principal Karl Olson, speaking on behalf of the Arlington School District, elaborated that the Rotary checks help newer Arlington schools build up their own library collections, and allow all Arlington schools to focus in on specific subjects.

“We’re getting more non-fiction material, especially science and social studies, for standards assessments,” Olson said. “For our accelerated and independent reading programs we can offer a broader variety of books, to match each kid up to a particular interest. This money goes a long way toward letting us do that.”

Molly Pearson, librarian for English Crossing Elementary in the Lakewood School District, echoed Waldrop’s enthusiasm for programs which will allow students to read at their own levels.

“This money makes a huge difference,” Pearson said.

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