Norwood Elementary was thrilled to have a guest author speak at their school for Ben Carson Reading Day!
Great things happen in Dundalk! Like so many elementary school Reading Room openings, the students of Norwood Elementary School sat enraptured, cross-legged on the floor of the gymnasium organized according to classes. The morning of Thursday, May 13th saw many gathered for this historic event.
After a 4-student contingent of the ROTC from nearby Dundalk High School solemnly posted the colors, Principal Pat Goldys addressed the academic audience. The 5th-grade dance troupe called the Music and Movement Performers then favored the attentive crowd with one of their two performances. They performed fun dance moves reminiscent of the 60s and 70s, including the Temptations’ Walk and Elvis’ gyrations. Garbed in royal blue t-shirts and khaki pants, in keeping with grade school culture, the 16 girls would dance as a group in contrast with the 4 boys’ routine.
Baltimore County Superintendent Dr. Joe Hairston’s comments focused on the merits of a strong educational foundation for success in life.
Norwood has embraced this idea in several ways, one of which involves their unique STEP reading program. Students are encouraged to read outside of their normal requirements, and this is measured in 15-minute increments or steps. Then 5th grader, Simi Kaur, determined that she would set the record for the school when she was in the 5th grade. Now that her younger brother is at Norwood, he decided he would be the first to break his sister’s record. It became a challenge for all the students and Prince Mavi, brother of the record holder,now holds that record at 617 points and over 800 steps of reading progress. Two other students, Arshdeep Singh and Amgad Gill also surpassed the impressive record set by Simi, who is now in the 11th grade at Eastern Technical High School. Prizes for these laudable achievements were distributed by the Principal Pat Goldys, Librarian Penny Setser, Candy Carson, and Dr. Hairston.
The powerful impact of reading was the theme of guest speaker, Candy Carson. Mrs. Carson shared her thoughts, which included a story about the young boy whose father would beat him if he caught him reading; however, his mother would force him to read since she saw it as a way out of poverty. This young man grew up to be not only editor-in-chief of the most widely distributed magazine in the world, but later he also became the CEO of the popular Parade Magazine.
Students from Dundalk High School produced the video history of the Reading Room set up, which aired next on the program. They also organized, under the guidance of technology integration teacher Patti Subrizi, the interactive “quilt”, a unique innovation designed by classroom teacher, Dawn Peake. A colorful set of squares displayed on an interactive 3 x 4-foot wall screen and remotes enable students to click on a square and view a video book report taped by one of their peers, to help them to decide on their next journey into fun literature!
Travel under the ocean as you approach the room. Underwater scenery on the upper exterior wall of the room beckons you to enter and ride the waves of knowledge in this deep-sea-themed room! Inflatable sea creatures swimming overhead, more underwater scenes covering the walls, and navy curtains simulating waves above create a scuba divers delight….only the diver is fishing for knowledge instead of crustaceans! To top it off, a highly decorated full sheet cake, 1/2 chocolate and 1/2 yellow, was a work of deep sea art as well. It took 10 minutes for someone to take the initiative cut into the gorgeous ocean scene!
Thank you Allegis for making the Norwood Reading Room possible. Special thanks also to Principal Goldys, Allison Bradley, Clare Kruft, Kim Ebaugh, Dawn Peake, Penny Setser, Jen Hoer, and the entire Norwood Elementary community for your visionary creativity, generosity, and downright hard work in making this relaxing haven for the students!!!