Dr. Seuss gets a ‘shout out’

by | March 7, 2019 5:00 am

Last Updated: March 6, 2019 at 9:25 am

Some things stand the test of time — things like the world Theodor Seuss Geisel fashioned in his imagination.
Under his pen name, Doctor Seuss wrote over 60 children’s books. Geisel’s birthday was March 2, 1904.
His birthday has been adopted by the national Read Across America initiative. Each year elementary school children throughout the country participate in parades, special guest readings and other events celebrating Doctor Seuss.
With his birthday coming on Saturday this year, the staff and students of Northside Elementary School celebrated on March 1.
Northside Elementary School Principal Wilsey Hamilton said, “Our Remembering Dr. Seuss Character Parade far exceeded my expectations. Our faculty and staff really put forth a tremendous amount effort and sacrificed a lot of time to make sure this event went over without a hitch.”
The parade was set to be held outside, but rain threatened that morning and a Plan B was formulated; instead the parade wound its way through the halls of the school.
As the 9 a.m. start time approached, the rain still hadn’t arrived and the decision was to move it back outside.
“I said a little prayer before the start of the school day, asking for the rain to hold off until we concluded our festivities and my prayers were answered,” Hamilton said.
But just barely. “As soon as the last class entered the building, the bottom fell out,” she explained.
What’s a parade without a marching band? Band of Blue Director Tom Finigan took care of that. Hamilton expressed her gratitude to Finigan “for his willingness to support us by bringing six members of his drum line over to help us with our parade.”
The school’s Reading Coach Stacy Kennedy and Reading Interventionist Tiffany West took the lead in orchestrating the day’s events.
“Each class chose a Doctor Seuss book that they wanted to represent in the parade,” Kennedy said. “They made a banner or poster for that book and their students dressed like characters from the book.”
“We also gave them the option to work as a team or to work with a partner teacher. Most teachers chose to do their own books versus working with another class,” West added.
“I feel the event was a success and the participation was great,” West said. “The teachers and students worked hard to create their costumes. The students as well as the staff enjoyed themselves and were excited to show off their costumes, as well as talk about the characters they were dressed as.”
Kennedy said, “I think everything went great!  Everyone was prepared and the students were excited about the parade.  One of our goals is to foster a love of reading in our students and I believe that was displayed today!”
The members of the drum line weren’t the only high school students to participate in the day’s events.
Hamilton said Kennedy “reached out to Coach Jermale Paige and asked for his assistance with allowing members of the varsity baseball team to come over to read to every class in every grade level before they had to report to school for the day. The team, along with members of the National Honors Society, agreed to get out of bed a little earlier to be at NES by 7:20 a.m.”
The high school students read to students in every grade and left to begin their own day in class before the parade began to form.
Parents and staff members showed up to watch the parade; Colleton County School Superintendent Dr. Franklin Foster was among the on-lookers. He said he was excited to see Northside Elementary School embrace the concept of Read Across America Day by engaging all students in a parade showcasing their favorite Doctor Seuss books. “I was excited to see the school engage the greater community by reading aloud to classes throughout the day.”
Asked his favorite Doctor Seuss book, Foster said “Oh, The Places You’ll Go,” got his nod. He said it “is an effective way to engage students in thinking about future careers and places they would like to travel to.”
West said her favorite Doctor Seuss book is “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.” “I have always loved watching the cartoon version at Christmas when I was growing up. As a teacher, it was one of my favorite books to share with my students.”
Kennedy’s choice is “The Foot Book.” “It was always my favorite to read with my own children and my first-graders because it uses a lot of opposites and rhyming words.”
Hamilton couldn’t settle on just one Doctor Seuss book. “I actually have two books that I really like that were written by Doctor Seuss,” she said.
“As a classroom teacher,” she explained, “I always liked reading ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ to my students because I could model fluency as I read the story aloud and we would always discuss the importance of embracing change.  We would often talk about the importance of stepping outside of the box and trying new things because in the end, you may end up really enjoying ‘the new thing’.”
“‘Oh The Places You’ll Go’ is one of my all time favorites because Doctor Seuss expounds on the endless possibilities that we have as individuals.  This is a story that I would read to my students on the last day of school every year — and every year, I could not finish the story without crying,” Hamilton said.

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