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Hilltoppers read to make their minds dance

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Friday, June 13, 2014


Neighbors | Abby Slanker.As a special surprise for the students, Hilltop Elementary School teachers danced the "Electric Slide" at the school’s annual Right to Read assembly May 15.


Neighbors | Abby Slanker.Charn Creed (Hilltop Elementary School first-grade teacher), Francine McBride (Reach Out and Read Coordinator, Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley) and Joe Maroni (Hilltop principal), celebrated the school’s donation from the CHRISTIE Campaign to purchase books for patients of the hospital during the school’s annual Right to Read assembly May 15.


Neighbors | Abby Slanker.Joe Maroni, Hilltop Elementary School principal, did his best casting the fishing pole motion as he joined kindergartners in their performance of the "Hukilau" at the school’s Right to Read Assembly May 15. Maroni promised to dance at the assembly if the students were able to surpass last year’s donation total, which they did.



To cap off Right to Read Week 2014, the students at Hilltop Elementary School celebrated their accomplishments with some cool dance moves during an assembly on May 16. As part of the Right to Read Week activities, the students participated in the CHRISTIE Campaign. During the month of April, students accepted donations based on a reading goal they set for themselves.

The money collected will be used to purchase books for patients at Akron Children’s Hospital - Mahoning Valley. They will be given to patients during admits and outpatient treatments. Each book will contain a label that states the book was donated by the children of Hilltop Elementary as part of their CHRISTIE Campaign.

As for the dance moves, in keeping with the Right to Read Week theme of Reading Makes Your Mind Dance, if the students beat last year’s total of $1,666.78, Joe Maroni, Hilltop Elementary School principal, would dance at the assembly in front of the entire school.

According to Charn Creed, first-grade teacher, the students initially came up just a few dollars short of their goal.

“After we had counted all the donations the children had collected, we realized we were $14 short of our goal. I went home and told my son, who is a freshman in high school, and has visited us here at Hilltop many, many times, that we came up a bit short this year. He looked and me and then walked out of the room, went to his room and took $20 of his birthday money, gave it to me and said, ‘Make him dance.’ So Daniel’s donation put us over the top of our goal for a total of $1,672.03, and now Mr. Maroni will dance for us,” Creed told the students, which earned thunderous applause.

New to the assembly this year, under the direction of Linda Magyar, Hilltop physical education teacher, each grade performed a traditional folk dance from countries around the world, with the kindergartners starting things off with the Hukilau. Maroni joined the kindergartners in an encore performance of their dance, much to the delight of all the students.

First-grade students went south of the border and performed the Mexican Hat Dance, while the second-graders sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to Ireland and performed an Irish Jig.

Third-grade students performed the traditional German Clapping Song and the fourth-graders traveled to Greece and performed the Greek Zorba Dance.

“Dancing is a world-wide activity, just like reading. People dance for enjoyment and people read for enjoyment. Dancing looks different in all different cultures and you can learn no matter where you are or when it is,” Creed told the students.

As a special surprise for the students, the “Electric Slide” came over the sound system, and while the students were trying to figure out what was going on and without skipping a beat, the Hilltop Elementary School teachers ran onto the floor and proved they have cool dance moves, just like the students, who thoroughly enjoyed the performance, cheering on their teacher.

Francine McBride, Reach Out and Read Coordinator, Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley, was on hand to accept the students’ donation.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you. Let me be the first to say thank you. I am in charge of ordering the books with the donation you give us. I order books for our patients of all ages and you make a difference in their lives. I was able to order 909 books with your donation from last year. There is a sticker in each one of those books that has Hilltop’s name in it so the patients know who was kind enough to provide the books,” McBride said.

According to Creed, this is the 16th year of the CHRISTIE Campaign.

“This is the 16th year of the CHRISTIE Campaign and in the last 15 years, Hilltop was able to provide 15,853 books for the patients at Akron Children‘s Hospital. The total amount of donations for the 16 years is $39,909.92,” Creed said.

Hilltoppers celebrated Right to Read Week by showing their spirit each day of the week. Monday was “wear what you read day,” during which children wore clothes with words on them; Tuesday was “sock it to a good book,” during which the students wore crazy, mismatched socks; Wednesday was “Wacky Wednesday,” during which students could dress in their craziest outfits; Thursday was “team up with a good book,” during which students wore a shirt of their favorite team and Friday was “hats off to a good book,” during which students were able to wear their favorite hat during school.


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