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A&T dynamic duo collect 800 books for Mville elementary schools with Operation Literacy

From left, Pinewood -
From left, Pinewood
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MARYSVILLE Why give teachers an apple when what they really need are books?
Thats what two local high school students asked themselves when they pondered their senior projects.
When Victoria Pontrantolfi and Brittany Hanson teamed up for their final academic challenge at Marysville Arts & Technology High School this year, they wanted to help others as they worked toward their diploma and last week was the payoff.
The dynamic duo collected more than 800 childrens books during Operation Literacy this spring. The seniors gathered the books by placing donations boxes at various sites around town, including City Hall, the Marysville Public Library and the Bookworks store downtown. Harnessing the goodwill of their neighbors, the girls harvested the book bounty during March, April and May and handed out the loot to elementary teachers last Tuesday.
Volumes of Stuart Little, Charlottes Web, and many other classics covered tables in the Marysville Mountain View commons as teachers gathered armloads of books for their classrooms at the May 29 event.
Its funny, you see all those books you had as a kid, Pontratolfi mused.
Keeping books close to kids has been a main strategy for the Marysville School District, where literacy is the cornerstone of all other learning. By establishing classroom libraries administrators are betting that proximity will whet students appetites for reading. Hanson and Pontrantolfi have just boosted those efforts, according to Debbie Gee, a second-grade teacher at Pinewood Elementary School.
We love getting books; this is just great, Gee said as she pawed the tables with the A&T seniors next to her. Were spending more time with the kids reading and were getting great results. These are great they are at the kids level. The more books we have at their level, the more they are reading.
Carol Spongberg is a kindergarten teacher at Sunnyside Elementary School and she seconded Gees comment, noting how difficult it is to match the right books to a students aptitude. The largess was greatly appreciated, she said.
I just feel like its Christmas, Spongberg laughed.
Whatever it was, it all started with three cardboard boxes and a couple spunky girls who wanted to help out. The best friends were frankly astonished at their success as they surveyed the booty from the spring collection.
We didnt really have a goal, Pontrantolfi said. We just really wanted
to get literacy out there, Hanson finished.
Its an amazing sense of accomplishment, Pontrantolfi said.
I wasnt expecting anything like this, Hanson laughed. Its turned into a huge project, more than I expected. Im proud of it.
The benefactors have also spent much of their time tutoring students at Allen Creek Elementary School, helping their younger peers with reading and giving them encouragement. Danna White said their work with her students revealed their passion and determination for literacy. Hanson expects to work in the pediatric medical field and Pontrantolfi wants to go into marketing; they will both graduate from A&T on June 7.

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