Reading Rocks! raised over $46,000 this year for the Wilton Education Foundation (WEF), adding to the more than $494,000 the iniative has generated since its inception 12 years ago.
Reading Rocks! kicked off with Dress Like a Rockstar Day at Miller-Driscoll and Cider Mill Schools on Jan. 27. The kickoff featured a special hallway performance by the Middlebrook Middle School Advanced Strings and the Middlebrook 7th Grade Stage Band. Miller-Driscoll students were welcomed by the stylings of the talented Miller-Driscoll music faculty as they entered the school for the day.
As part of Reading Rocks!, Miller-Driscoll and Cider Mill celebrated World Read Aloud Day on Feb. 1. Both schools welcomed over 75 members of the community into the classrooms to read books selected in collaboration with the school librarians, a tradition that returned this year after a two-year pause due to Covid restrictions.
Miller-Driscoll Assistant Principal Bernadette Hess said her school was thrilled to welcome Wilton community members to read Cyril and Pat by Emily Gravett in celebration of World Read Aloud Day.
“From preschool to second grade, the children were excited to be read to by high school athletes, members of the Wilton High School American Sign Language club, police officers, firefighters, preschool directors, business owners, special area teachers, Coach [EJ] DiNunzio and our superintendent, Dr. Kevin Smith. We want to thank everyone who took the time to come read, and from the comments we heard on [their] way out, the readers really enjoyed being part of the fun at Miller-Driscoll,” Hess said.
Funds from last year’s Reading Rocks! funded initiatives at Library Learning Commons Maker Spaces and Innovation Studios at all four Wilton Public Schools, including engineering challenges, a podcast studio, audio and video recording equipment, 3D printers, and more.
Wilton Education Foundation (WEF) will partner with Wilton Public Schools to determine where to focus funds from this year’s Reading Rocks! Fundraiser. According to Co-chair Jennifer Carvajal, WEF strives to “Go Beyond” as it supports technology, music and the arts, and professional development within Wilton Public Schools.
“We were blown away by the level of participation in this year’s Reading Rocks! fundraiser and are incredibly grateful for our community’s support. Donations go right back into the schools, helping to fund new and innovative programs that keep our teachers and students on the cutting edge of education,” she said.
Carvajal added that WEF is grateful for the continued support and sponsorship from the Stroup family.
Cider Mill’s Cannondale House and Miller-Driscoll’s 2nd Grade had the highest number of students participating, winning special prizes for their students.
“Although our goal is to get to 100% participation for Reading Rocks!, we want to give a special shout-out to our top three fundraisers: second grader Davis Janey, who raised $2,400 (and was also our leading fundraiser during last year’s pledge period); first grader Cooper Mathieu, who raised $1,136; and first grader Violet Fossi who raised $1,125. As a token of gratitude for going above and beyond, a book of each child’s choosing will be donated to the Miller-Driscoll library, in their name,” Reading Rocks Co-Chair Sarah Rondeau said.
Fossi also won the Grand prize of an iPad. “I can’t believe I won my own iPad! I love it so much. Reading Rocks! is the best,” Fossi said
Organizers added that families should be on the lookout for Reading Rocks! 2024 next winter, but in the meantime, the Get Smart for Wilton 5K later this spring is another fun way to support the Wilton Education Foundation. Information about other events and programs run by WEF throughout the year can be found on the Wilton Education Foundation website.
Editor’s note: The article has been updated to include information about the Reading Rocks! program sponsors.