Local teens promote literacy
August 28, 2008 · Updated 10:24 AM
MARYSVILLE Some kids get senioritis their final year in high school but two seniors at Marysville Arts & Technology High School caught a bad case of bookitis. This one is called Operation: Literacy.
Brittany Hanson and Victoria Pontrantolfi are collecting books for Marysville elementary schools are part of their senior projects this month after learning some schools lack books for kids.
The duo have been tutoring students at Allen Creek Elementary School and made it a mission to gather enough books to help with efforts to improve literacy. They have colorfully decorated boxes explaining their challenge at City Hall and the Marysville Public Library, as well as a downtown bookstore. More than just books, they want to raise awareness in the community of the importance of reading skills. Earlier this week they were showing a visitor their collection box at the Bookworks store on Third Street downtown.
Literacy has been a big push and we want to help, said Pontrantolfi.
We want to try to get enough books for more than one elementary school, said Hanson.
The project is part of their current world issues class, and students must exert 30 hours of service to earn a grade; pairing up allows 15 hours of service for two kids, and some clean beaches or volunteer somewhere. Pontrantolfi and Hanson choose to follow their hearts with books, thats how they got Bookworks owner Mary Burns to lend prime retail space in front of her counter.
We wanted to get the town more involved rather than just have them at City Hall or the library, Hanson explained.
Youre supposed to get something that means something to you, Pontrantolfi added.
I think it was a great idea and they seem to have put a lot of thought into it, Burns said, noting the gaily decorated collection box and poster. Her shop is at 1510 Third Street and is open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday to Saturday. Donations can be made anytime during those hours.
Danna White has been teaching fourth grade at Allen Creek Elementary School for eight years and she remembers the two girls dimly from their time there as students. But according to White the pair shine as mentors and tutors, helping students stuck on certain words, phrases or passages with patience and care.
They are excellent, White said. They are very, very responsible. They are committed to helping some forth graders who are having struggles with reading. They do it with humor and they bring in treats for the kids.
Anytime school lets out early or the seniors have some spare time White said they are prone to show up. Not only do they work but they have developed a great rapport with their charges and they stick with it.
Weve never had any of the kids be this dedicated. Generally they tend to come at the beginning and then fade away, White explained. Theyre just totally delightful and they really enhance what goes on in the classroom. I imagine they will be fantastic teachers someday. Actually they already are teachers, they will just be better teachers.
Their career bent is actually toward the medical field for Hanson, who sees pediatrics in her future and marketing or business for Pontrantolfi. The Operation: Literacy book drive will last until late April.