My first letter to the Editor of the newspaper…

I recently discovered I have a lot of opinions, especially as I grow older and experience more. Strangely enough, I have never felt compelled to write to the editor of my newspaper.

However, after witnessing┬áNoName Elementary’s Reading Overnight Program, I cannot help but to applaud our community. It deserves national recognition, as far as I am concerned.

I am a proud resident of Zionsville. I have been the receiver of such amazing support from neighbors but this event made it clear to me that we undoubtedly selected the best place to grow roots for our family.

Apparently, Reading Overnight is a remnant of the ‘old’ NoName Elementary School. Whoever decided to maintain the tradition at the ‘new’ NoName Elementary…BRAVO!

From what I understand, it is held every four years so a child is guaranteed to participate at least once during their elementary ‘career.’ It began as an event where the kids slept overnight in the gym with their sleeping bags and read books.

While there was not much reading at the event, it has definitely progressed from its beginning.

At the outset of the school year, the children have been working toward accumulating enough independent reading hours to attend the event. In fact, if a child was lagging in recorded minutes, there were volunteer parents to help read with them during recess! Unbelievable…the commitment some people have in making sure that no child is left behind.

So on Friday, March 12th, the NoName Elementary PTO literally transformed the school into an Around-The-Globe extravaganza. The parent volunteers had two hours to get the decor in place before the children arrived back at school. It was mind boggling the precision that followed.

After registration and a ‘pump you up’ speech the tour guides started the magic of guiding the children off to distant lands.

As they visited the Antarctica there was an igloo (made out of milk cartons) that the children had to crawl through, life-sized elephants as they entered into Africa, a pyramid that signified the entrance to Egypt that followed with an archaeological dig, the Eiffel Tower and a short French lesson, gondolas with store fronts decorated with flower boxes, Buckingham Palace swanked by real armor and the ‘Queen of England’ explaining the difference between some of our English terminology, a craft that involved created a tribal head mask, lessons on African tribal dancing, fun games in Hawaii and Australia which included riding on jet skis and rocking kayaks…and the experiences go on and on.

Each child had a passport (only security at the airport would know they were fake) with their school picture in it. At each country, you could see the pride building in their faces as their passports were stamped.

As a child, I do not recall anything reaching close to this magnitude. We just looked forward to the Ice Cream Social the week before school started to meet our new teacher. I certainly do not recall parents being as integrated into our school environment as they are in Zionsville.

Now one could argue that the money spent on the event could have been put toward programs that the school is having to cut. However, I guarantee there is not a child in the student body that will forget their experience. I hope that it manifests itself into every child having a desire to see the world, to study about different cultures, and to understand that while there is nothing better than home, there is much to be learned outside of it.

Tiffany Stoner
Mother of Four

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