Fairland students celebrate Seuss’ birthday

Published 9:49 am Tuesday, March 3, 2009

ROME TOWNSHIP – Stormi Jackson proved an able and enthusiastic pinch hitter when the flu bug changed the morning’s game plan for this year’s Dr. Seuss’s birthday celebration just as she was coming in the front door.

Jackson, a Fairland High junior, arrived at Fairland East Elementary Monday morning, thinking she was going to be part of the group of readers who were to read from some of the 54 books by the famous children’s author. She was all ready for that. What she wasn’t counting on was how she ended up.

However, when she learned that one of her classmates was ill, Jackson gamely got her nose painted rosy red, her face smeared with chalky white paint and donned the second most famous stovepipe hat in the world, all to become “The Cat in the Hat,” at least for a day.

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Up and down the halls, Jackson went introducing herself to each classroom and fielding a plethora of offbeat questions about her erstwhile persona from the youngsters like just how old is the cat and what teacher does “he” has in school.

“This is very important,” Jackson said about Fairland East’s special reading celebration. “The kids get more interested about the cat if they see the character come alive.”

Celebrating the birthday of Seuss, the writer who had his first book rejected 43 times, is a longtime annual event at Fairland East, where the community is invited to be guest readers for the day.

This was the third year for Dalton Froehlich, a member of the National Honor Society, to come to the elementary to read. This year’s selection for Froehlich was “Clam I Am.”

“It gets kids involved in reading. It gets them excited,” he said. “They love it.”

Javier Roe, a fourth year Spanish student at the high school, not only read Dr. Seuss’s Cat classic, he did it “en espanol” and for the second grade class that his brother, Justin Colon is in.

“I think little kids should learn another language,” said Roe, whose performance gave the children an introduction into another way of speaking.

And just as at other birthday parties, there was cake, potato chips and face painting by Pam Smallfield.

Joining in on the celebration was the Chesapeake Elementary class of Jamie Shield via videoconference. This was a trial run for the equipment that Fairland plans to use for distant learning classes in the lower grades.

The schools will be able to draw programs from such venues as the Cleveland Museum of Art, COSI, Discovery Springfield, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Atlanta Center for Puppetry Arts.

The equipment for both elementaries was funded by an approximately $20,000 grant from the South Central Ohio Computer Association and $10,000 in matching funds from the Fairland Board of Education.