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    By Todd Martin

    Middle school honor students stepped into pre-kindergarten classes to extend positive influence through the gift of reading and kindness.

    The 37 Patterson Middle School eighth-grade National Junior Honor Society students visited Saegert Elementary School Tuesday to read stories and donate books to children.

    Each middle school student paired up with one or a few pre-kindergarten students to read books the older students provided and then presented one of the books to the younger child to keep.

    Patterson librarian Sherry Everett, an NJHS sponsor, said students came up with the service project idea. She was thrilled to support the early literacy effort.

    “I think it helps build a sense of community,” Everett said, explaining that the Saegert attendance zone feeds into Patterson and some of the younger students would eventually go to the middle school just as some of the visiting middle school students once attended the elementary school they visited.

    “The kids were able to sit and listen and they asked lots of questions,” said eighth-grader Kama Rangel. “They are nice to us. I got four hugs.”

    “We wanted to do this to educate them and we just like to help people,” eighth-grader Jacob Finch said.

    The middle school honor society students complete an application and get teacher recommendations to join the organization and must maintain a high standard of attendance, grades and service hours.

    “It’s fun,” Rangel said. “It gets us involved in the community and in the schools.”

    Patterson math teacher Lerachelle Stewart, also an NJHS sponsor, said she is the mother of a 5-year-old and appreciates her students’ desire to impact the young children.

    “I know how much this means to them to have someone read to them and to get to keep a book,” Stewart said. “The (middle school students) were excited to come.”

    Saegert pre-kindergarten teacher Alycia Bashaw agreed her young students were thrilled to have student guests. “They love having the older kids come and they get excited about the books.”

    “It’s important because it lets younger kids know that reading is important,” said eighth-grader Ethan Everett. “It’s not just for fun, it’s also for you and for your education. They enjoyed the books and they thought it was nice for someone not an adult to read to them.”

    “It makes an impact,” said Rangel. “They can read along with us and take a book home and read it for themselves.”

    November 14, 2017

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