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500 Children to Attend Dr. Seuss Birthday at KSC

KEENE, N.H. 2/15/03 Dr. Seuss would have been proud.

More than 500 children from schools and Head Start programs in the Keene area will meet at Keene State College on Friday, Feb.21, to celebrate reading and the birthday of childrens author Dr. Seuss.

The idea for the celebration and party came from the student coordinators of Keene States KSC Reads program, which is part of the America Reads Initiative Each week during the academic year, about 35 KSC students help the reading efforts of children, aged preschool though third grade, in 12 area schools.

The student coordinators of the event admitted they were surprised by the response to their invitation. We thought we might get about 200 children to come, says Vanessa Weatherbee, a junior majoring in education.

Megan Dunklee, also a junior and an education major, explains that the response became the organizers greatest challenge. The event grew into something much bigger than we expected, she says. We had to use the Student Center as it was the one place that was big enough to fit everyone.

The children will spend the day in the Student Center, where they will participate in six activities based on themes from The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, and other Dr. Seuss stories. At 1 p.m., the children will gather in the Mabel Brown Room to listen to Dr. Seuss stories read by Corinne Kowpak, the vice president for student affairs, and Don Hayes, community services coordinator, and to share a giant birthday cake.

Among schools attending the event are Keene Head Start, Swanzey Head Start, Westmoreland School, Franklin School, Fuller School, Gilsum School, and Wheelock School.

The birthday (actually March 2) of Theodor Seuss Geisel, the author and illustrator of The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, has become a focal point for reading programs across the nation. Born in 1904 in Springfield, Mass., he attended Dartmouth College in 1925.

Dunklee and Weatherbee say they hope that Dr. Seuss Day will become an annual event at KSC. Weve shown that it can be done, says Weatherbee, and were already training people for next year.

KSC Reads was started in 1998 as part of the federal America Reads Initiative, which provides work-study funds for the student mentors. KSC Reads is organized by the Community Services Office at KSC.

For more information, contact Vanessa Weatherbee at 603-358-8924, Megan Dunklee at 603-358-8925, or Don Hayes at 603-358-2665.

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