8/28/18 Hillcrest students receive gifts, support from community
|Books of love|
Photos by Jessica Williams / Times-News
Burlington Fire Engineer Matt Hauser goes for a ‘low five’ after giving Hillcrest fifth-grader Cameron Michael his books and certificate.
Hillcrest students receive gifts, support from community
By Jessica Williams The Times-News 8/28/18
Reprinted with permission.
Burlington Fire Lt. Chuck Loy pats Hillcrest fifth-grader Crystal Soto-Cruz on the back and tells her, “Make sure you read a lot this year,” after handing out her two books and certificate.
Shara Hawkinson had a big surprise for her fifth-graders on the first day of school, but first she had two questions to ask them.
“Who hates to read?”
A few hands went up.
“Who loves to read?”
A few hands went up again.
“OK, so half of my class is going to really enjoy this,” Hawkinson joked.
Over the summer, the Hillcrest Elementary School teacher posted a message on Facebook asking community members, family and friends to “sponsor” students in her classroom by purchasing two books — which she would hand out to them on the first day of school — and writing encouraging words in them to help them get through the year.
She received responses from people in North Carolina, Virginia, Missouri and Iowa, plus a friend in the military currently stationed in Korea.
And Lt. Chuck Loy, Engineer Matt Hauser and Firefighter First Class Ryan Winebarger from the Burlington Fire Department’s C Shift came out the morning of Aug. 27 to help hand them out and give each student a pat on the back.
“I think it’s important for kids to know that people in the community care for them,” Loy said.
In one book, he wrote, “Have a great school year! Work hard and learn something new every day!”
Others wrote messages like, “You are the big dogs on campus now! Remember to be a leader, stay kind and try your best. You have an amazing teacher, and fifth grade is going to be awesome!”
And some jotted down inspiring quotes like Edwin Elliot’s, “By being yourself, you put something wonderful in the world that was not there before.”
With their books, each student received a certificate to celebrate making it to fifth grade.
And even those who said they hated reading happily took their presents from Loy, Hauser and Winebarger (“Take what you get, and don’t throw a fit,” one student said) and opened them to see the messages inside.
Most sponsors chose an installment of a popular young adult series, like “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” or “Dork Diaries.” A few of the kids immediately started reading.
This is Hawkinson’s seventh year teaching, but her first year at Hillcrest Elementary School, which has a high population of students in need. She hopes the books will start the year off right.
“I hope [this] will get them reading,” she said. “I know that some children may not have books at home, so this will at least get them started with some books, and hopefully they’ll enjoy, or at least start to enjoy, reading, even if they don’t like reading for school.”