After doing preliminary progress testing on the 11th; on December 13th, 2008, we had an end-of-semester Holiday Event for the Reading Program. Kids, parents, tutors, all involved in the Program were invited. It was quite an event: we ordered thirty pizzas; we awarded progress certificates to the kids (four "graduated," but will be coming back, as will all of the other children), and gave certificates of appreciation to our tutors, supporters, and sponsors. Jess MacDonald had designed and supervised a sponsorship program in which UNCW students agreed to buy two books for each of the children in the Reading Program. (She asked each kid what kinds of things they most liked to read about, and then passed that information on to the sponsors. So we had wrapped presents to give the children for Christmas. Jess and I also raided the toy shelves at The Dollar Store so the kids could also have a couple of toys to play with over the break.
Eric and Raven had put together an incredible Power Point slide show for the families to see what we'd been doing, scored to the song "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." The kids, of coursed, laughed at their pictures and loved the show (so much so that we showed it a second time toward the end of the day). Chancellor DePaolo provided a beautiful cake for the celebration. And Steve Demski gave a brief presentation of UNCW's Project Soar which provides financially needy children to attend UNCW tuition-free if the maintain good grades.
It was a terrific end to the first, of what we all hope are many, semester of the Reading Program.