Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss: Read Across America celebrates in Morris Plains and Morris Township

By  Marie Pfeifer and Berit Ollestad

“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

Or how big.

Local officials and firefighters took time out earlier this month to promote the joys of reading to schoolkids in Morris Township and Morris Plains, on what would have been the 110th birthday of Ted Geisel–better known as Dr. Seuss.

Morris Plains Mayor Frank Druetzler reads to special needs students in Morris Township. Photo by Marie Pfeifer

Morris Plains Mayor Frank Druetzler reads to special needs students in Morris Township. Photo by Marie Pfeifer

(Morristown High School has gotten into the act, too. You can see Seussical the Musical this weekend, March 28-30, 2014.)

Read Across America Day is sponsored annually by the National Education Association and Random House Publishers in memory of the beloved children’s author and illustrator, whose clever-rhyming easy-readers are credited with helping children master reading.

Students at the Regional Day School in Morris Township threw a party and invited the Cat in the Hat.

Morris Plains Mayor Frank Druetzler, sporting his own Cat in the Hat chapeau, showed up just in time for a breakfast of green eggs and no ham, with a side order of hugs and a reading of Horton Hears a Who.

Photos by Marie Pfeifer and Berit Ollestad. Please click icon below for captions.

The Regional Day School, now in its 33rd year, is state-owned and managed by Morris County.  Special-needs students range in age from 3 to 21. Principal Elaine Goodman has been in charge for the last decade.

In preparation for the big event, 45 students created table center pieces based on Dr. Seuss books that had been read to them. Many students wore pajamas to get in the proper mood. A good time was had by all!

Over in Morris Plains, meanwhile, Morristown Town Attorney Vij Pawar joined invited guests who read to Mrs. Kaeli’s first-graders at the Alfred Vail School.

“I have young children that I read to daily and they are always so excited when daddy reads to them. I was looking forward to reading to older kids and sharing the message that the importance of reading never ends,” said Pawar.

Morristown Fire Capt.  Jesus Castano at Read Across America Day at the Alfred Vail School in Morris Plains. Photo by Berit Ollestad

Morristown Fire Capt. Jesus Castano at Read Across America Day at the Alfred Vail School in Morris Plains. Photo by Berit Ollestad

Firefighter Jesus Castano, a captain with the Morristown volunteer division, shared his love of books with Ms. Cheung’s kindergarten class.

“It’s important for the children to see us out here participating in the community,” Castano said.

“It’s also a great opportunity for me to put on my gear and show the kids that we aren’t as scary as we might look when we have on our mask and equipment. Hopefully they will understand not to be afraid of us and that we are here to help them.”

Morristown Firefighter Recruit Lizzy Davidoff spent the morning in Ms. Harris’ kindergarten class sharing the magic of books that she remembered from her school days at Alfred Vail.

“I used to love being read to. It was always my favorite time of the day,” said Davidoff.

Firefighter Davidoff is in a class all her own, as the only woman training at the fire academy.

“I think it’s important for girls to see me and to know that they can do anything boys can do if they set their minds to it. I also enjoy seeing the reactions on the boys’ faces when they see me and realize that it isn’t just a job for boys,” she said.

 



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