On Friday, May 15, 2009 we hosted our second annual Pick Up A Book And Read Essay Recognition Luncheon. Parents, teachers and even a principal came out to support the students.
For those who are unfamiliar with the program, up to five 3rd through 5th grade students per classroom are chosen by their teachers to submit an essay expressing their views toward a book of their choosing. The essays are evaluated by a committee comprised of 10 members of the RBC Center and Hurricanes staff. Finalists are invited to attend a recognition luncheon where the top five finalists read their essays.
At this year’s essay luncheon we were lucky to have the radio play-by-play voice of the Carolina Hurricanes, Chuck Kaiton, speak to the students. Not even a 3 a.m. airport arrival from Boston that morning could prevent Kaiton from speaking at the luncheon. Now that’s what I call devotion.
Kaiton spoke about the importance reading and writing has had on his career. He also offered some wisdom he learned from former Hartford Whalers right wing Gordie Howe, “God gave you two eyes, two ears and one mouth; and he did that for a reason. You want four of them to stay open and one of them to primarily stay closed…that’s the way you learn in life.” Pretty solid advice if I do say so myself.
In addition to Kaiton, Carolina Hurricanes forward Brandon Sutter was present to take pictures and sign autographs. Carolina’s favorite ice hog, Stormy, was also around causing mischief as usual.
After a break for lunch, the top five finalists read their essays and were awarded prizes. April Corwin (Kingswood Elementary), Brendon Sadlowski (Heritage Elementary), Georgia Kate Edgerton (Riverwood Elementary), Mallie Holcomb (Kingswood Elementary) and Mark Van Auken (Heritage Elementary) were the top five finalists this year.
Choosing the finalists was tough as we had some great essay submissions. I was lucky enough to be a judge and was impressed by the creativity of all the students. I have to commend the top five finalists for standing in front of everyone and reading their essays with such grace. Public speaking does not come easy for a lot of people and is listed above death as the number one fear among most people--thanks to my college professional speaking class for that tidbit of knowledge.
The luncheon provided the students with a delicious meal, a break from the normal school day routine, a brief escape from end-of-grade testing and recognition for a job well done. The Canes’ overtime win against the Bruins the night before was just icing on the cake. All in all, I’d say a pretty good day. Congratulations to all of the finalists and good luck with your end-of-grade tests!