Each year our Rotary club chooses an elementary school in Cambridge to partner with on a literacy project. This year’s partnership was with Chalmers Street Public School in Galt. Chalmers Street Public School is a growing community with 530 students from JK-Grade 6. They are one of 12 schools in the region with all day every day kindergarten.


We kicked things off with the Rotary Reading Challenge which ran from Monday, April 30 until Sunday, May 6. Students received one ballot for every 20 minutes they read during the week for a chance to win prizes donated by our Rotary club. Principal Cindy Benedetti’s goal was to have all students participate in the reading challenge and Read For The Fun Of It.


The following week was Guest Reader Week (May 7-11). We really enjoyed coming in and reading to the students. The kids were great and we were made to feel very welcome by everyone in the school community. 



At the Recognition Ceremony, our special guest author, Harry Endrulat, talked about being a reluctant reader in his youth and how one book (Lord of the Rings) got him hooked on reading and writing. He read his book A Bear in War based on a true story about a Canadian teddy bear that travelled all the way to the front lines in France at the height of the First World War. The bear was a gift for Lawrence Browning Rogers from his ten-year-old daughter, Aileen. Sadly, Lieutenant Rogers died at the battle of Passchendaele. Today, Teddy resides in a glass display case at the Canadian War Museum, one of the most beloved exhibits in the building.  


We then presented $25 Chapters gift cards and certificates of achievement to the 9 divisional winners of the Reading Challenge. We were also pleased to donate a complete set of Brady Brady books signed by the illustrator, Chuck Temple, to the school library so they could be enjoyed by all the students. The kids burst into spontaneous applause when we presented a large symbolic cheque for our $1,000 donation to the school library.


This is what Principal Cindy Benedetti had to say following this year’s literacy project.


We were part of the Rotary Reading Challenge in April and May of 2012 sponsored by the Rotary Club of Cambridge Sunrise.  Our staff and students were all very excited about the challenge.  Students specifically were excited to meet the challenge of reading every day.  The incentives added to the excitement: the chance to win a gift card for Chapters and the opportunity to meet a guest author.

 Our guest author was Harry Endrulat, whose presentation was based on the reluctant reader.  This excited all of the students, but was especially appealing to those who could relate to this theme.  It gave them the opportunity to see how someone who didn’t like to read can (and did!) incorporate reading into his life and a very successful career. 

Working with the Rotary Club of Cambridge Sunrise introduced us to some of the many positive contributions that the members are making in our community.  The students and staff at Chalmers appreciated and enjoyed members coming in their classrooms to read.  It was a very rewarding experience.


We really appreciate the opportunity to form a partnership with the Cambridge Sunrise Rotary members.  We’ve become more aware of events in our community that have been sponsored by your club.  We look forward to a long lasting working relationship.  A big THANK-YOU to all who participated.