Here’s an art project I received from Northeast School in Montclair, NJ. Students created portraits inspired by the “The Granddaughter Necklace.” As you can see, each portrait is wearing its own handmade necklace!
These are things I didn’t know myself until I traveled to the city of Schenectady, New York, at the invitation of Mr. Anthony Sementilli, a third grade teacher and model educator. After discovering my book “Something Beautiful,” Mr. Sementilli obtained a grant from The Schenectady City School District Educational Foundation, Inc. to bring me to Woodlawn Elementary School to speak with third graders. Funding for the grant also allowed Mr. Sementilli to provide a copy of “Something Beautiful” to every third grade student.
The train ride along the Hudson River was lovely but even more inspiring was my visit with Mr. Sementilli, students and other third grade teachers. The principal Mr. DiCaprio gave me a tour of the school. In every corner something interesting and unique was happening. I especially loved the huge library! And at Woodlawn every
student gets breakfast each day, which they eat family-style in their classrooms.
What a great way to start the morning! Of course, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing student bulletin boards with writing and art on the theme of beauty. I also felt quite proud when I saw a welcome sign with my name on it outside. When I rode home on the train after my visit, I couldn’t stop smiling. The visit had brightened me up.
And the next day, I couldn’t wait to write. My brain was lit up like a light bulb! No wonder people call Schenectady “the electric city.” After my visit, Mr. Sementilli sent me a letter. Here’s part of what he wrote to me:
Ms. D’Alessandro, Mrs. Miskovsky, and I are very grateful for your visit and the immeasurable impact you made on our students today. We emphasize the importance of reading and writing on a daily basis and you supported that notion with your discussions. The looks on the students’ faces were priceless when they held your book, personalized and signed by you….thanks for a memorable day!
I had a wonderful time visiting William B. Cruise Memorial School No. 11 for Read Across America. As a special treat third graders were allowed to wear their pajamas to the assembly. I only wish I’d worn mine!
Dear Sharon Dennis Wyeth,
Your visit to our school was a testament to the integrity and passion that you have instilled in your books. We were in awe of your ability to engage all of the students and inspire them to find their own connections within literature. The students have spoken of nothing but your visit and your exquisite books. We couldn’t boast enough about your ability to capture the audience and keep the students wanting more. I remember eight years ago when I received Something Beautiful as a gift; it now remains a permanent fixture in my library and a class favorite, as each one of us within this community can relate to its story. We still use this book to introduce various concepts in multiple content areas.
Recently, we introduced your new book, The Granddaughter Necklace, and it came as no surprise when our students were once again taken in by the perplexity and beauty of the message along with its historical relevance and vivid illustrations. We are glad to say that we are in the process of making these books available in each class’s library for our students’ and teachers’ use. Thank you so much for giving our students something to look up to and strive toward!
Elementary School Teacher
William B. Cruise Memorial School No. 11
P.S. For Women’s History Month, we celebrated you! Attached are photos of just a couple of the bulletin boards that were created as a result of your visit, as well as a copy of our school’s most recent newsletter, which proudly features your visit. We are also mailing you some letters that our students wanted to write to you.
“As educators, we must accept moral responsibility for improving instruction in order to improve student achievement”- Glickman
-Teaching is not just a gift; It’s a calling!