Students hit the books for a cause

May 20, 1994|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Sun Staff Writer

Nearly 70 Sykesville Middle School students "dropped everything to read" -- their slogan for a 90-minute read-a-thon to help the Carroll County Family Center in Westminster.

The children turned pages into dollars for the family center, which offers educational opportunities for teen-age parents who want to return to school.

The young readers collected pledges for about two weeks last month before they sat down in the school cafeteria to read.

"I was afraid it would be chaotic with that many students, but it was quiet," said Ann McHale, media specialist at the Sykesville school.

The silence may have been related to literary selections.

"If I pick a good book, I can read for hours," said Marcy Evans, 13.

"Even if you have to look up a lot of words," added Dana Parisi, 13, who read "The Hobbit" with a dictionary at her side.

Chad Rabinovitz, 13, said he liked the activity that might help others learn to appreciate the same books.

"I hope the students see the connection here," said Pat Tyler, adult basic education teacher at the family center. "They are helping many young people who didn't finish school come back and further their education. Many get their high school diplomas and go on to college."

She called the donation, which will pay for books and supplies, "absolutely wonderful."

Ryan Arnold, 12, said his mother encouraged him to participate.

"My mother had me when she was 17 and she thought this was a good cause," he said. "She is going to college now."

Mary Beth Dimaio, who had a title to defend as the 1993 top pledge collector, led the group again this year with $383 and earned the honor Wednesday of presenting center representatives with a check for $1,942.15 -- the total raised by the students.

"Reading was the easy part," said Ryan Grubb, 11. "Collecting pledges was hard because Mary covered the whole county."

Pledges were only a phone call away for Sharema Smith, 12, who collected $158.85.

"I called everybody at my dad's and mom's work and asked for pledges," she said.

Sandy Lynch, administrative assistant at the family center, thanked the students "from all the participants in our program. Even though they are not here, they really appreciate your efforts."

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