Student provides a good read

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A chapter of a Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School student’s life will end when she graduates in June, but she’s started a legacy that will carry on like a Harry Potter series.

The school will continue to spark imaginations and minds of young readers across Alberta through the Indigo-Chapters Love of Reading Adopt A School program, which Jyoti Ruparell became a part of at STS nearly a decade ago.

“This year we collected 593 books,” said Ruparell who lives in the DeWinton area. “That’s a lot more than we have ever done. Our goal was 300 books and we passed that by a lot.”

The books are being donated to the new K-Grade 4 Buffalo Rubbing Stone School in northwest Calgary.

That’s a long ways from the couple of books Ruparell donated through the program some seven years ago when her mother showed her a newspaper article about Love of Reading.

“I got inspired because at our school we have always had a lot of books and I have always had access to books,” she said. “So it was a shock that some schools needed books and it still is.”

She put a jar in her classroom and she raised enough money to buy two books.

Some seven years later, Ruparell has plenty of help at STS.

“This year we had a team of students helping — a representative from each grade,” she said. “They went to each homeroom, encouraged their classmates and made it a huge success.”

Ruparell loves to read.

She has a wide range of favourite authors ranging from Dr. Seuss to Roald Dahl of Charlie and the Chocolate Company fame and most recently, historical non-fiction dealing with events leading to the First World War and the American Civil War.

Teachers from Buffalo Rubbing Stone School will select books at a Chapters-Indigo store, which co-sponsors Love of Reading.

“Then sometime in the spring we will go and read to their students,” she said.

There will be plenty of books to come from STS.

“I am happy to say it will continue after I graduate,” Ruparell l said. “The students who contributed this year will be continuing this next year.”

Buffalo Rubbing Stone vice-principal Jill Neufeld was thrilled with the Okotoks area school’s efforts.

“We are super-grateful to Jyoti and the community at Strathcona-Tweedsmuir for their donations through the Indigo Adopt-A-School campaign on our behalf,” Neufeld said.

The books will add to the school’s library as well as to classroom libraries.

“We do have a number of students who are learning English as a second language,” Neufeld said. “Having those books that are at that just-right-step reading level for them — having the ability to take those books home and practice with their families, is really beneficial to their English language acquisition as well as their reading skills.”

Neufeld made a presentation to STS students about the Calgary school earlier in the school year.

bcampbell@okotoks.greatwest.ca

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