Kindergarten and first grade students, as well as their tutors, are being rewarded for their extra efforts during after school hours.
At a ceremony on Friday, March 11 at P.S. 97 on 1375 Mace Avenue, faculty and peers awarded their kindergarten and first grade students with certificates for their completion of the READ Alliance Program, an after school program designed to enhance young childrens reading skills.
The program provides effective one-on-one tutoring sessions for young students who are assisted by older students from other schools throughout the Bronx such as Lehman, Cardinal Spellman, Truman, St. Catharine’s and St. Raymond’s High Schools.
In December 2010, P.S. 97 lost federal funding called No Child Left Behind, which was money that supported the READ Alliance at the school. Due to the unfortunate circumstances, Senator Jeff Klein was able to contact AT&T Foundation who in return donated a $20,000 grant in order to continue the program at P.S. 97 and Holy Rosary School on 1500 Arnow Avenue.
“Success for students starts at a very young age, and we at AT&T are pleased to contribute to that cause,” said Hal Lenox, president of AT&T New York. “READ has an impressive resume not only in helping the young students begin on the right path, but also aid in the development of their tutors.”
The ceremony was led by school principal Kathleen Bornkamp, who was joined by Senator Klein, READ Alliance president Yvonne Petrasovits and AT&T New York president Hal Lenox. The school was presented with the $20,000 check, followed by Senator Klein handing out completion certificates to the students and tutors.
“READ Alliance is a valuable program that greatly enriches the lives of our children,” Klein said. “After all, these children are the future, and I am pleased that with the help of the AT&T Foundation we were able to continue the program at P.S. 97, and I look forward to the program’s continued success at Holy Rosary.”
The young learners received their certificates in front of family and friends in the school’s auditorium, but only after the 32 students in the program had one final after school session with their tutors.
Before the students were given their certificates, their tutors were honored with their own certificates for their hard work as well, helping the students at P.S. 97 read a total of 1,632 books during the duration of the three-month program.
“It’s very important that early intervention in a child’s life is crucial to their success as a student. The READ program shares this belief and validates it,” Bornkamp said. “In this day and age when teenagers are usually highlighted for the negative things that they do, I am very happy to see we had a wonderful group who volunteered to help our kindergarten and first grade students.”
The READ Alliance program began at Holy Rosary last month, and the students are expected to complete it in May.