"Seuss-tastic" festivities

mvoorhis@sierrastar.comMarch 4, 2014 

The students, teachers and staff arrived early Monday morning. They literally hopped out of bed and hit the road in their PJs. Some were excited about the "seuss-tastic" breakfast awaiting them in the cafeteria — green eggs and ham. Some were anticipating a day filled with fun and unusual activities, or kicking-back while actively listening to the guest readers. Others, like 8 year-old third-grader Alexis Cipolla, were excited for a different reason.

"Today's a big celebration and we get to stay in our pajamas all day. So I get to sleep in for once because half the work in the morning is getting dressed for school." As an extra added bonus, Alexis wore a new pair of PJs, the bottoms of which were "soft and fluffy."

No matter what the reason for exhilaration on a typically 'blue Monday,' all participated in celebrating and honoring Dr. Seuss on his 110th birthday.

And it would not have been a proper tribute without a breakfast of green eggs and ham.

I do not like green eggs and ham!

I do not like them, Sam-I-am.

You do not like them.

SO you say.

Try them! Try them!

And you may.

Try it, they did, and the general consensus was that the breakfast was "fantastic," and "super good."

Following the scrumptious and colorful meal, students returned to their classrooms, got comfy, and were treated to a special reading of a Dr. Seuss story, read by a variety of Mountain Area residents, including Tom Wheeler, Madera County District 5 Supervisor and Board Chairman, who started off reading 'The Lorax' to the special education classes. This book is geared towards living an environmentally-friendly lifestyle, and how to properly care for our home — the earth and nature, specifically trees.

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot

Nothing is going to get better. It's not.

"Dr. Seuss books are full of moral lessons," para-educator, PTA member and event organizer Cami Cipolla explained, "which help teachers lead students into conversations about these issues."

"The book 'What Was I Scared Of' teaches not to judge a book by its cover, 'And To Think That I Saw It On Mulbury Street' teaches imagination and creativity, stories like 'The Zaks' teach conflict resolution, and 'The Sneetches' teaches children about discrimination and segregation."

We're the best kind of Sneetch on the beaches.

With their snoots in the air, they would sniff and they'd snort

We'll have nothing to do with the Plain-Belly sort!

And, whenever they met some, when they were out walking,

They'd hike right on past them without even talking.

Each guest reader selected a book, which they read to the pre-kindergarten through fifth grade classes throughout the morning. One reader, who came appropriately dressed in her blue-and-white PJs was Yosemite Unified School District board member Monika Moulin.

"The hard work we've done at board meetings is important," Moulin said, "but the good stuff is when we get to come to the schools and see the good things all our hard work is doing. Cami (Cipolla) chaired and organized this day. This shows the important part parents play in stepping-in and making days like this possible — they are worth their weight in gold."

"I have a passion for Dr. Seuss," Cipolla explained, "and this is a great chance for the kids to interact with role models in our community. Besides, a lot of these kids don't have parents who will read to them at home."

Additional celebratory activities scheduled throughout the week included writing "seuss-isms" for the troops, creating passports on different Seuss book locations, and dressing as Dr. Seuss characters.

One of the most popular activities was the planting of a sweet pea seed. These seeds were planted in plastic cups so that the students will be able to notice the changes as the root grows over succeeding weeks and months. This exercise will also be used as a math lesson — a comparison chart to determine how much one seed has grown compared to others.

Other guest readers included Yosemite School District Superintendent Jim Sargent, Teena Hagerman from Community Dance and Theater, Marie Mount manager of Coarsegold True Value, Scott McGhee owner of The Sugar Pine Railroad, school librarian and PTA President Audra Hammerling, parent Jennifer Woods, and retired Coarsegold teacher and grandparent Mary Ann Englehart.

Theodor Seuss Geisel, 1904 - 1991, was an American writer, poet, and cartoonist. However, he was most widely known for his children's books written and illustrated as Dr. Seuss. Nearly every child in America has read at least one (if not all) of his many imaginative stories.

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