Read Across America Day in South Pasadena

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Dodger great Al “The Bull” Ferrara, Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! creator Bob Boyle, and Parenthood actor Sam Jaeger, along with City Council members Robert Joe and Diana Mahmud, the City’s fire and police, and local authors and celebrities, filled the lineup of fantastic guest readers for Friday’s Read Across America Day.

Although the kick-off assembly was rained out, brightly colored chalk drawings of Dr. Seuss characters under the covered walkways, courtesy of Mr. Brian Jehue and artistic crew of helpers, cheered the students as they started school and awaited raffle results. Winners of the 17 prizes, including Dodger shirts for students and teachers, AV spirit wear and AV sports water bottles, were congratulated by Al Ferrara in the library.

Mr. Ferrara, the 1967 Dodger of the Year and member of both the 1963 and 1965 World Series Championship teams, charmed children and adults alike with his warmth, stories and encouragement during his visit. Along with reading to Mr. Fiedler’s fourth grade class, Mr. Ferrara graciously signed autographs and posed for photos with students and parents. As an ambassador in the Dodger Alumni League, Mr. Ferrara was also promoting the Dodgers’ LA Reads program, which has a revised start date of March 7.

Guest readers shared a common desire to inspire and delight our students. Emmy-winning animator Bob Boyle treated the fifth grade to a reading of one of his books, but not before sharing with them — and drawing live — about how he got into the profession. Actors Amber and Sam Jaeger read family favorites to Mrs. Nicole Farmarco’s second grade class, and authors Jennifer Stinson and Jonathan Grotenstein shared about writing and book publishing with Mrs. Sharon Reed and Mrs. Christy Gresham’s fourth grade classes. AV is fortunate to have a diverse and devoted mix of parents, and U.S. Army JAG Major Ed Riffle and LAPD Reserve Officer Matt Krieger arrived in uniform to read to the first graders. Parents of AV alumni, Dinosaur Farm owner David Plenn and Occidental College Head Basketball Coach Brian Newhall also read to the first graders.

The City of South Pasadena’s finest shared a warm camaraderie at the reception provided by AV parents: along with the city council members, AV’s readers included several police officers, paramedics and firefighters. As the firefighters were finishing their reading, they received a call about a car fire on Arroyo Dr. The children could hear the fire truck’s sirens as those very firefighters left to put out the fire. Our city’s assistant librarian, Cathy Billings, South Pasadena Unified’s Student Support Services Director Dr. Dennis Lefevre, and our middle school and high school principals also came to read. Mr. Jehue, Principal Cheryl Busick and Vice Principal Kyle Bender also joined in on the reading fun.