Serving Our Pride: Sharing the Joy of Reading
Community service is an integral part of our mission at LION. In addition to regular opportunities for all staff and students to engage in community service throughout the year, all high school students are required to complete a minimum of 50 hours of community service before graduation. During the month of November, high school students launched a Gratitude Book Drive, during which they collected 150 books to donate to students across the K-12 community. After the book drive, the following students made a trip to our Elementary School to donate books in person and read to their elementary peers: Anderlis Feliz, Nylah Simmons, Heidi Brito, Mamy Ndiaye, Joselynne Ramirez, Dayanara Allen, Jaylen Praylow, Nanette Duncan, Sky Calosso, Khyllael Smith, Alex Villanueva, Arianna Alicea, Terazally Kissinger, Demi Rodriguez, Mouctar Barry, Jenna Miller, and Paris Ellison.
The School Culture Team and Junior Deans developed the idea for the Gratitude Book Drive and elementary read aloud event. “Reading is a big aspect of people’s lives, and we wanted to bring that to younger kids. We wanted to make them a part of a reading event, so we could all enjoy time together and make sure they know how to read!” Alex Villanueva explained. The elementary students loved having high school students come read to them and gave their older peers their undivided attention. Jennalee Miller noted, “I thought they were really engaged. Before I read to my class, I went to others. They were asking questions. They all gave ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ in response to certain things that happened in the book.” Mouctar Barry observed, “I read to second graders. They were very respectful and quiet…They were cool, they were chill, they were paying attention…They were asking questions at the end, and they responded to all my questions about the book.”
Our high school students also appreciated the experience. Sky Calosso shared, “One thing that the kids liked was seeing older kids read to them. Usually it’s always adults that read to them…Having role models read to them, they enjoyed that.” Dayanara Allen agreed, “When we went to read to them, they were so excited…It felt good to know that people look up to us. They want us to come back. They said, ‘Oh no! Don’t leave!’ They truly enjoyed it.” High school students look forward to hosting another book drive and a clothing drive in the future. This month the Junior Student Council is sponsoring a toy drive to support the 41st Precinct’s Christmas Toy Drive for children in the community. New, unwrapped toys can be delivered to our high school, the Banknote Building, or the 41st Precinct through December 16th.