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Read Across America, Hartselle style

By Randy Garrison

For the Enquirer

What a great way to begin a week participating in Read Across America in our schools March 2. I have enjoyed being a part of this celebration for several years and always look forward to and enjoy the events of that day and week. 

The day began with the annual Stakeholders Breakfast at Barkley Bridge Elementary. The food is always great, and the folks there go out of their way to make you feel welcome. Of course, there is always the chance to put on a few pounds at this breakfast, but it is well worth a pound or so. 

After breakfast the kickoff rally is held. After the HHS cheerleaders got the crowd fired up, the choral group did a great patriotic rendition of the National Anthem and sang “Green Eggs and Ham.”  

Awards were given to the winners in the Whooville Creative writing contest, and I was proud to read the most creative winner, Darby Ellis’ Hartselle Whooville story. I also had the pleasure to administer the “We Pledge to Read” to all of the students. 

After the kickoff I had the pleasure of reading to Cindy Hollingsworth’s second-grade class. All of the students were very attentive and polite during the reading.  

Next I moved onto Hartselle Intermediate, where I read to Mrs. Hogan’s and Mrs. Wakefield’s classes. All the folks at HIS were dressed in pajamas for Dr. Seuss’ birthday. 

I shared with all the students that the classrooms seemed much smaller than when I was there in 1973. I am sure that seems like ancient history to youth who were born in this century. 

One of the books I read was a fable, and we discussed how those type of stories/books teach a lesson. I read “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” to one of the classes.  

Moving onto Burleson Elementary for more reading, I had the pleasure of reading to Mrs. Josie Styles’ and Mrs. Crompton’s second-grade classes there. I really enjoyed one of the books since it was written in celebration of the State of Alabama’s 200th birthday as a state. The author moved the reader from the northern state line and the Huntsville/Decatur area to the sandy beaches of Gulf Shores and several places in between. The author also included the campuses of Alabama and Auburn, so that made way for a few “Roll Tide” and “War Eagle” cheers. 

What a pleasure to be invited to participate in this event. As I walk down the hallways, I also see students I know, and it is great to see the smiles and get a hug from some of the ones I know personally. 

Reading is such an important part of education. I remember the librarian at Crestline Elementary who really turned me onto reading at a young age. Thanks, Alice Jean Glasgow, for what has been a lifetime habit of enjoying the written word.  

I hope many of these young folks find the appreciation and interest for reading I have found and enjoyed. 

What a great opportunity I enjoy, visiting in our schools and witnessing all the great things happening in Hartselle City Schools. Thanks to all the educators and staff who are pouring into our kids and preparing them for their futures and for the next level of learning.  

Hartselle City Schools – a jewel in the crown of the City of Hartselle.