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Seark Reading Council Host Celebrate Literacy Banquet

April 29th, 2019 by

Members of SEARK Reading Council nominated literacy leaders from Southeast Arkansas to be honored at this year’s Celebrate Literacy Banquet, recently, at the Village Steakhouse in Star City.  Honorees then compete at the state level with other reading councils’ honorees. Karen Robinson, President, and Latanza Atkins, Vice President, presented awards to this year’s recipients:  (top to bottom) Kathy Cornish, Administrator in Reading of the Year; Drew Central PTO, Agency Leader in Literacy (accepting is: Alicia Ratliff, Diana Patrick, and Angie Burton); Kyle Smith, Community Leader of the year; and Carrie West, Educator Award Leader of the Year.

Kathy Cornish is the principal at Warren Middle School. She has always been an advocate for literacy. At the beginning of the year, Mrs. Cornish added a reading interventionist and intervention time for students who had been identified as struggling readers. Through systematic and explicit instruction, these students have grown exponentially academically and behaviorally. Mrs. Cornish is truly a leader in literacy.

Drew Central PTO provides a variety of services to the students of Drew Central School District and the surrounding community. A few of the items they have provided are playground equipment, picnic tables, office supplies, and awnings. The Drew Central PTO regularly recognizes the staff and faculty with surprise treats and encouraging notes. Most importantly, the Drew Central PTO supports and promotes literacy with annual events such as Cookies with Santa, book fairs, and Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss Event where books are given to students. Alicia Ratliff is the current president of the organization. They also won the statewide award and are ARA/ALA’s Agency in Reading of the year for 2019.

Kyle Smith is a 2018 graduate of Drew Central High School. For his senior project, Kyle researched the correlation between reading and increased test scores. He also constructed mini-library boxes and collected books to be placed in Drew County. Since graduation, he has continued to restock them. Kyle’s love for reading is now evident in his community. “My passion for reading has allowed me to learn and enter a world that you as a reader can interact in,”-Kyle Smith.

Carrie West has taught multiple subjects at different grade levels in her many years as an educator. Currently, she is one of the Dyslexia Therapists for the Monticello School District. In addition to her day-to-day duties, Mrs. West works after school with students who display dyslexia characteristics. She has been instrumental in researching, developing, and implementing Tier III literacy interventions for Monticello Middle School. Mrs. West’s passion for helping students who struggle with reading is evident in everything she does.

SEARK Reading Council is proud to present these recipients awards and honors for all of their hard work in helping the students of Southeast Arkansas become readers.  SEARK Reading Council will meet again in September.  If you are interested in becoming a member of SEARK Reading Council, visit arareading.org and click on the join tab to join online.

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