RHS Students Perform at Rolesville Elementary Reading Rally

Evening Provides Food, Fun and Literacy for K-5

By Jeanne E. Fredriksen

Nearly 60 families gathered at Rolesville Elementary School March 12 for an evening of food, fun and literacy. The inspiration for the evening, called “Cozy Up with a Good Book,” came to Principal Dana Primiano at a family-involved committee meeting.

Although the Reading Rally event had a literacy theme, Primiano encouraged the reading intervention staff to work with the same team that sponsored Family Math Night last November.

“We had representation from every grade level, which was awesome,” said Betty Owens, reading intervention specialist. “We had three to four teachers from each grade level that evening.”

During the dinner, the staff gave away door prizes that include free books given as soon as parents filled out a survey about the program.

Teachers led literacy games for students in grade-level breakout session in individual classrooms.

RHS students performed 'The Giving Tree' for RES students and families.

RHS students performed ‘The Giving Tree’ for RES students and families.

The highlight of the evening was a skit based on “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein performed by students from the Family, Career & Community Leaders of America chapter at Rolesville High School. The classic children’s book marked its 50th anniversary of publication in 2014.

“We are fortunate to have many high school students who understand the importance of volunteering in the community, and they ask me weekly for the latest opportunity to volunteer,” said Cindy McPherson, Rolesville High’s career counselor.

Owens had contacted McPherson, who enlisted the help of Kimberly Hundley, the advisor for Rolesville High’s Family, Career & Community Leaders group.

Hundley, too, was proud of her students and the response of the elementary school children, parents and staff.

“We chose ‘The Giving Tree’ and, after going over ideas with the students, they really did all the work,” Hundley said. “They came during their lunch and stayed after school to create their props. I was amazed at the willingness of these teenagers to give of their time and excitement they had in presenting their skit to the elementary students.”

The audience was enthralled.

“Our students were just sitting on the edge of their seats listening to all of this,” Owens said. “Our students just idolized them.

“One high school student had attended our school, and her brother attends RES,” Owens continued. “Plus, we had an interpreter from the county, and we had an ESL (English as a Second Language) room where the ESL families could go if they felt more comfortable taking their children where the interpreter was. Everything worked out beautifully.”

Owens also said that most of the high school students said they planned to come back next year.

With a dose of RES pride, Hundley added, “The event was extra special to me, because I went to Rolesville Elementary as a student. This is one reason I chose to teach to RHS; to be able to be a part of the community and to help support events like this one. It allows me to teach my son the importance of volunteering.”