By Stephanie Beach
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — Twenty-three St. Francis High School students visited Noah’s Ark, Alphabet Soup and the YMCA child care centers to read to children and distribute a free book and book mark to each child. The book featured Clifford the Big Red Dog in “Clifford’s Good Deeds,” while the bookmark offered suggestions for parents on reading aloud to their children at home.
The outreach, titled “Annette’s Reading Angels,” highlighted the importance of reading to very young children. It is named in memory of Annette Plamondon, a Holy Angels Elementary School teacher/tutor, whose passion was helping children learn to read. Annette died in 2013 and volunteers who wanted to honor her legacy raised money to purchase the books by holding a “Bunko for Books” party this past winter.
Several of the participating students are former students of Annette and fondly remember her devotion to reading. Many of the students also credited being read to by their parents as critical to their current success in school.
“My dad used to read me his medical journals,” said St. Francis junior Jack Krcmarik. “The ability to read well transcends all subjects from math story problems to science lab descriptions.”
The Benzie Central Middle School Student Council delivered 944 pounds of food to Benzie Area Christian Neighbors in January, completing a chain of events that started in November 2013.
Early in November, the student council discussed possible activities for the last day of school before Christmas break. They decided to give gifts to some students, but the question of which students arose. This led to the idea of holding a raffle for the gifts. The student council didn’t want to charge money for the tickets, but they also wanted a way to contribute to the larger Benzie community. This led to the idea of “charging” one food item for each raffle ticket and donating the collected food to the BACN food pantry.
“So armed with $250, the students went shopping and chose 30 items they thought their classmates might like,” said Lynne Keber, Benzie Middle School Student Council advisor. “The items ... were put on display in the lobby of the middle school. This brought the Christmas spirit to the ... school. Staff members and community members began donating things for the raffle. The raffle of 30 gifts grew to more than 65 items and the food piled up! The raffle was held on Dec. 20 in the Benzie Central auditorium. We at Benzie Middle School are proud to be members of this wonderful community and are thankful we can help in this small way.”
Gerri VanAntwerp, BACN executive director, said that the donation was a wonderful way to start 2014, a great tribute to the students and a perfect example of BACN’s New Year’s hope for the community to be a “caring community of neighbors helping neighbors.”