Two San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) schools celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday in a big way Thursday, with activities and special guests for Read Across America Day.
Davila Day School in Chula Vista and Friendship School in Imperial Beach hosted numerous guest readers who delighted students with lively storytelling. Read Across America Day is held annually on March 2, the birthday of beloved children’s author Theodor Geisel – better known as Dr. Seuss. The nationwide reading celebration was established in 1997 by the National Education Association in partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises.
At Davila Day School, where all of its 46 students are deaf or hard of hearing, Dr. Seuss books came to life as students paraded through the courtyard with colorful costumes and artistic displays inspired by “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” and other beloved Seuss stories. Each classroom door was decorated to match the class’ book theme.
“I am proud and happy to see my students happy,” Principal Christina Neal said. “My kids are the fun part of the job and I love just being able to interact with them.”
About a dozen standout storytellers read to groups of Davila students, including instructional aide Armando Bravo, who raises American Sign Language to an artform, and SDCOE Principal in Residence Marcus A. Jackson Jr., who took on the challenge of Dr. Seuss tongue-twister “Oh Say Can You Say?”
"I enjoy reading to students because there is excitement to them when the words and pictures interact and opens the door to their imagination," said Jackson, who also read to Friendship School students Thursday.
Davila Day School also was fortunate to have a special visitor all the way from New York, retired teacher Carol Rubin, who entertained children with ASL and kamishibai, a Japanese form of visual and participatory storytelling.
At Friendship School, whose students are medically fragile and have multiple disabilities, Interim County Superintendent of Schools Edward Velasquez, retired educators, parents, and SDCOE employees were among the volunteers reading to children. Doors were decorated with Dr. Seuss themes, and students and aides made colorful Seussian smoothies.
Read Across America Day is especially important to Friendship School, where Principal Diana Lynn and her team work tirelessly to ensure that their students have the same opportunities found in other schools.
“We like to give them experiences like any other kids,” school nurse Jillian Fulton said.
Claudette Inge, a retired SDCOE assistant superintendent, is a longtime Friendship School volunteer reader. “I love this program. It changes your heart.”