■ By Debbie Vena / Reporter
The San Jacinto Rotary had the honor of celebrating Dr. Seuss birthday a day early. The San Jacinto Headstart/State Preschool hosted our club March 1st and put on a wonderful program. The room was decorated by artwork created by the children in preparation for the day – handprints were creatively turned into table decorations that colorfully represented Thing One & Thing Two — where the adults ate a lunch any preschooler would find delightful. These adults gathered in the literary world of rhyming make believe to share a day of literacy with the youth of San Jacinto.
Elizabeth Zaragoza, director of San Jacinto Headstart Pre School, started the program with a presentation on the importance of early learning. The children entered the room after the parents and teachers shared their reasons for the importance of a good early education program.
To kickoff the inaugural literacy project, more than 292 children were gifted with brand new books by the local Rotary club — two books per student — with the intent of a weekly swap so each child can take home two books a week to share with their parents.
One class rocked the house with a vocal performance of the “Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf,” transforming the literature classic into a dance. Every child wore a hat they made themselves preparing for the day, a hat just like the “Cat in the Hat” famously made fashionable.
As a special treat, Superintendent Diane Perez and Andy Ramirez took turns reading to the children wearing their own versions of the top hat with the iconic red and white bold stripes.
One more surprise was waiting for each student after they finished the storybook adventure – each child got a Dr. Seuss sticker and a chance to interact one-on-one with a club member, if just for a brief moment.
“Thank you to everyone who supported this wonderful project. Next year is already being planned for and with great hope it will be even better,” said Debra Willis, club president, who helped organize this community service project with her daughter to demonstrate the Rotarian International philosophy that every girl and woman deserves equal access to education.
James Hall, Jim Conner, Dr. James Roeder, Andy Ramirez, David Smith, Tim Hults, Sherry Smith, Gale Hill, John Norman and David McManus also attended the literacy festivities at the school in support of the club sponsorship. One of the Rotarian goals is to support literacy and reduce gender disparity in education. Make an impact.