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Iroquois readers in Niskayuna raise money for Double H

Iroquois readers in Niskayuna raise money for Double H

Iroquois readers in Niskayuna raise money for Double H
Charlotte Barberich, 11, a sixth-grader at Iroquois Middle School, reads one of her favorite books
Photographer: Jeff Wilkin/Gazette Reporter

NISKAYUNA - Ethan Heck had an appetite for a good story — and silence — last Friday night.

Starved for words, Heck chose the teen favorite "The Hunger Games." For the quiet space, Heck spent a couple of hours in the cafeteria at Iroquois Middle School. 

The 13-year-old Iroquois eighth-grader had company. Seventy-seven other Iroquois students participated in the school's 12th annual "Read-a-thon," and brought books, comfy chairs, sleeping bags, blankets and pajamas for a night of silent reading and a little bit of socializing.

They also brought dollars and coins.

"The main goal is to raise money that's donated to the Double H Ranch (Lake Luzerne) so kids can go to camp," said Iroquois reading instructor Lynn Connors, who organized the night out with fellow reading teacher Michelle Bonczkowski. "It's any donation they want to bring in, they can ask family and friends. They're not supposed to go door-to-door. Niskayuna doesn't fund raise like that."

Word lovers delivered the goods. The kids raised $3,600; more than $50,000 has been raised during the past 12 "Read-a-thons."

Images: Reading for Double H Ranch in Niskayuna, Jan. 10, 2019

The kids read for a total of 100 minutes during an evening that offered a couple breaks to socialize and grab some snacks. There was no fooling around in the cafeteria; kids snuggled up in blankets and stuffed chairs and turned their pages.

"You can hear a pin drop in here," Bonczkowski said. "It's how they want to spend their Friday night."

Kids chose their subjects — fantasy, science fiction, comic books, teen adventures. Bonczkowski said reading anything always pays off for young people.

"It helps expand their vocabularies, their comprehension skills, fluency and confidence," she said.

And while some young people prize electronic devices they received during the December holiday season, the book lovers were happy to show off their low-tech gifts.

"I heard some kids say, 'I got this book for Christmas, I'm going to wait until the 'Read-a-thon' to start reading it,'" Connors said.

Ella Lovegrove, 11, a sixth-grader, read part of "The War Outside," a young adult novel about two teens interned during World World II.

"I love to read," Lovegrove said. "And it's for a good cause. I feel like we're reading for something."

Heck, taking a break from his "Hunger," also said he liked the good deed angle that is part of the "Read-a-thon."

"And it's amazing to get rid of my loud family for a while," he said.

Images: Reading for Double H Ranch in Niskayuna, Jan. 10, 2019

Ellie Grossman, 14, an eighth-grader, did some Friday night booking for the third straight January. "Wings of Fire," part of a fantasy series about dragons, was her paper companion for the evening.

"It's really fun to sit down in a quiet room and read a while with friends," Grossman said.

Contact Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 518-395-3124 or at [email protected]



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