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Saint Mary’s to host literacy night at local elementary school

| Tuesday, March 26, 2019

When asked about the Saint Mary’s annual Literacy Night event, senior Sam Schickel summarized the event in just four words — “reading, math, science, food.”

“Literacy Night is an annual event that Saint Mary’s College hosts at an area elementary school,” Rebekah DeLine, head of the Office for Civil and Social Engagement (OCSE), said in an email. “It’s an event wherein children and their families can participate in activities that focus on reading and arithmetic, have some fun and also take home a book or two for their home library.”

Literacy Night is organized by the OCSE, Coquillard Elementary School in South Bend and Saint Mary’s students.

“This event started as a celebration of the late Dr. Seuss and has transformed into a general promotion of reading,” DeLine said.

DeLine said that the event has been a good way for Saint Mary’s students to interact with the local South Bend community.

“Literacy Night has brought together a diverse group of individuals both from the community and the College,” DeLine said. “For Saint Mary’s students, it provides a hands-on opportunity to serve with a low barrier to entry. For the community and particularly the young people who attend, it has provided an opportunity to enjoy an evening at the school with college women who the kids really seem to look up to. Attendance at Literacy Night also allows the families who attend to take a few free books home to add to the resources that their kids can access every day.”

Not only is the event open for the elementary school students of Coquillard, but to their siblings as well. Schickel, who also works as a teaching assistant at Coquillard, said volunteers can expect to see attendees ranging in age from babies to high schoolers.

“The students at Coquillard really look up to the Saint Mary’s students and since we do other activities there other various volunteer programs in Coquillard. … They love to introduce us to their families,” Schickel said. “It’s good for them to have a positive role model, like the women that are going to volunteer. For us, I think it’s a great way to connect with our community. I think it’s easy to be stuck in our little Saint Mary’s community. It’s just an opportunity to get out and have some fun with the kids.” 

It is not necessary to be an education major to participate. Of the nine volunteers signed up so far, Schickel said none of them were education majors.

“[Volunteers] will be working one of our ten stations,” Schickel said. “Those range from teaching them how to read a clock and a little game about that, and shooting spider man webs to catch spiders. We got a little ocean in a bottle like Aquaman.”

Literacy Night will take place Tuesday, March 26, from 5-6 p.m. OSCE will provide transportation to Coquillard Elementary for any and all volunteers. More volunteers are welcomed and appreciated, Schickel said, and students who wish to help can email [email protected].

“[The goal is] to have fun,” DeLine said. “The time goes by super quickly and depending on which activity the students are helping with it can even get a little messy. But overall, everyone should expect to have a blast with families in the Coquillard School community.”

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