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ExxonMobil grant helps continue literacy program

MOOERS - For several years, D&D Meats in Sciota has helped Mooers Elementary School continue their focus on literacy at a young age. This year the school is kicking it up a notch.

D&D Meats owner Sharon Dutil has applied for the $750 Mobil Exxon Education Alliance Grant for Mooers Elementary School every year because of her history with the school.

"I went to school at Mooers, so did my kids. Just seemed natural," Dutil said. "I definitely want to keep [the grant] in the area anyhow."

Dutil just fills out a little bit of paperwork every year, then it gets sent to the school where they explain their plans for the money.

"Most times that we've received the grant, it's gone towards early literacy for incoming kindergarten students," explained school literacy coach Sara Dupee.

The youngsters are invited by the school once a month, from January to May, where they receive supplies to help them excel in reading and writing.

"We target different literary areas and skills," said Dupee. "We talk about reading readiness. One-to-one correspondence when reading stories."

The grant money the school receives every year helps pay for the supplies and keeps the program running.

"If [students] can start young and find out where their weaknesses lay, then it's going to help them," said Dutil, which is why she continues to apply for the grant every year.

"[Reading] is a path for everything," she added. "How far can they get in school if they can't read?"

This year however, Dupee said there is a new program the school is working on, to further help with literacy at a young age. But coordinators of the project don't want to give away the surprise just yet.

"It's just something that's going to hopefully promote the outside reading," Dupee explained.

As for D&D Meats continuing every year to provide the money for the school, Dupee said it's "awesome."

"I really appreciate that they think of us," she said. "Even though we're not right in Sciota, it's still nice that they are keeping in mind the school."

"It's terrific that they are continuing to foster that even though they've left and they don't have anybody directly involved with the school," she added, "but they want to help out the other students that are here."

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