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Morrisonville Elementary students meet the 'Books at Birth'

MORRISONVILLE Like there was ever a doubt Morrisonville elementary students met and surpassed their goal for this years Community Contributor Month. Community Contributor Month is a tradition that began during the aftermath of the January 1996 Saranac River ice jam flood when the students and staff pulled together to help those devastated by the disaster. Each year since then theyve come up with a new community service project and each is designed as a challenge. This year the project, called Books at Birth, included students having to find family or friends willing to sponsor them as they read at home. The goal was to raise enough money to buy enough books to supply gift bags to all babies born to parents living in the Saranac school district for the next three years. Thats over 1,000 books at a cost of about $3,000 and they did it in just one month! Not only did they read, students also teamed up with parents and Key Club members to make the bags from material of cheerful prints. Depending on grade level, some students wrote Dear Precious Saranac Newborn letters, while others crafted bookmarks to be included in the gift bags. Last Thursday the students, divided into three groups, came to the cafeteria to help assemble the gift bags. Each was charged with picking out three books and a gift bag. They also had to be sure to gather one of the informational booklets for the parents and a copy of a letter from Principal Brad Ott. They also had to include a post card, complete with postage and the schools address in hopes that the family will share the babys name, birth date and whatever else they are comfortable with. And it all had to be tied into school work, said Ott. He explained that while creating each years new Community Contributor Month project they also want to make sure students learn what they can accomplish both as individuals and as a team. The next day he planned to gather that whole Morrisonville Elementary team in an assembly to present representatives of the CVPH maternity ward with the 1,000 gift bags. Marissa Ducatte of the fifth grade said she read two hours and 30 minutes to raise money to contribute to the project. She and a handful of her classmates who were busy assembling gift bags were in agreement that books were a great gift, one that would help promote imagination. Taylor Hamel chose The Big Hungry Bear, My Cat and Commotion in the Ocean from the many titles available. Most of the books were ordered from the Scholastic publishing company, Mountain Lake PBS and Harcourt Brace Publishing donated others. Its a very, very good gift to give, said Autumn Esposito. Children can open a book and enter a whole different world.

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