Sharon Dennis Wyeth

My Visit to the “Electric City”

Did you know that Schenectady, New York was once the home of Thomas Edison’s Edison Machine Works? And later on, the headquarters of General Electric?

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:

Dear Sharon,

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!

Kindest regards,

Mr. Sementilli

Sharon has a new book, The River and Me. Learn more at American Girl about Evette and her passion for nature!