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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, May 30, 2024
HomeNewsArchivesSanta, First Lady Give Young Students the Gift of Reading

Santa, First Lady Give Young Students the Gift of Reading

Melissa Ferreras, Santa (aka Chris Finch, Department of Human Services commissioner), and first lady Cecile deJongh.Santa Claus was on St. Croix with first lady Cecile deJongh Tuesday spreading cheer and the love of reading to young elementary school students with the gift of books.
DeJongh told almost 500 kindergarten through third-grade students at Pearl B. Larsen how much the governor and her love to read.
“We want you to love reading and your teachers want you to love it, too,” deJongh said to the students gathered in the auditorium. “If you read it makes life easier.”
Each child was given a recycled red tote bag with the governor’s seal on it, a fruit cup, juice, a coloring book, and storybook.
Alscess Lewis Brow, the author of the storybook “EFA and the Mosquito,” was on hand for the party. She said it was a great opportunity to spread the love of reading.
“The students getting my book is like the icing on the cake,” Lewis Brown said. The book about the local environment and nature was illustrated by Cynthia Hatfield. The coloring book about mangroves was “Trees in the Seas” by Mark Sabino and Elizabeth Ban.
This is the third holiday season the deJonghs have hosted parties for the students. This year was different from previous years with deJongh and her elves going to the students instead of the students going to the forts in Christiansted and Frederiksted.
“This way all the students can participate,” deJongh said. “It is less disruptive to class and the teachers seem to appreciate that.” She added the cost of transporting the students was a factor, too.
“It is greener and better for us to come to them,” deJongh said.
DeJongh said Santa and her helpers will give out 9,000 books territory-wide to young students in all public and private schools. After they finished the gift giving at Pearl B. Larsen they were off to other schools on St. Croix to give out a total of 4,000 gifts.
“This was an excellent event promoting the love of reading and literacy,” said kindergarten teacher Elizabeth Hering. “It encourages kids to have books at home, too."

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