Local elementary school celebrates the love of reading

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IRVINGTON, NJ — Special guests flocked to Irvington’s Berkeley Terrace Elementary School on Friday, Feb. 7, to read to the students for the school’s “Celebrity Read” event.

“Today, we had our ‘Celebrity Read,’” the school’s parent coordinator, Jennifer Parrish, told the Irvington Herald during the event on Feb. 7. “It’s in conjunction with American Heart Association, so that’s why we’re wearing red — to show support and be aware of heart disease.”

“We’re having ‘Celebrity Read,’” Berkeley Terrace Elementary School Principal Sean Evans said to the Irvington Herald during the event, “where we have different individuals from all over the community come and read to our students.

“Today’s event was wonderful,” he continued. “I’m just excited that so many people are concerned and love all of our children and want to take the time out of their busy schedules to come and read to them.”

Irvington Superintendent Neely Hackett was at the event and was excited at the number of guest visitors in attendance.

“The Commissioner of Education was in attendance, Dr. October Hudley as a councilwoman; we had the Essex County Superintendent (of Schools Joseph) Zarra,” Hackett told the Irvington Herald during the event. “There were so many wonderful guests that came in today to explain to our students the value of literacy, and our students can see that they can be anything they want to be, as long as they continue to read and write.

“I think it’s wonderful, and I want to commend Mr. Evans, the building’s principal, on doing such a fabulous job in organizing this program. Also, the parent coordinator, Ms. Parrish, who’s done a wonderful job coordinating the program,” she added.

Also, in attendance as a guest was James Washington, who is a retired principal who worked for the Irvington Board of Education for 37 years.

“I came by to take part in the Irvington ‘Celebrity Read’ program,” Washington said to the Irvington Herald during the event, “because I always remembered that reading was so special and important for our young people. Believe it or not, when I was at Chancellor Avenue Elementary School, I began the ‘Celebrity Read’ Program here in Irvington.

“Today’s event was a great success,” he continued. “The kids were ready to go; they were attentive, and we had a lot of special people that showed up here. Believe it or not, we even had a gentleman here who had been assistant principal at Irvington High School and who is now the commissioner of New Jersey education, Dr. Lamont Repollet.”

Parrish said she wants more schools to participate in “Celebrity Read,” because children benefit from what they see.

“I think more schools should be aware and promote ‘Celebrity Read,’ because children learn from us and they always look up to celebrities,” Parrish said. “If they see celebrities read books, they would also be inclined to read.”