By Scott Bleile

Trying to keep students united during the closure of schools for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year due to the pandemic, the Seaford School District has come up with the idea of “One Book, One Seaford” reading initiative. All families in the district have received a book which students, parents and even grandparents can read to enable families to talk with each other about a common topic. The book is entitled “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer.

According to the Seaford School District’s website, One Book, One Seaford!, “this initiative was designed to encourage a sense of community, while we are united together through the Seaford School District community yet separated in our homes during this time of COVID-19. Our book, “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” is a remarkable true story about human inventiveness and its power to overcome crippling adversity. It will inspire anyone who doubts the power of one individual’s ability to change their community and better their lives.

Blades Elementary School first grader Kennedy Hearn reads the book “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” for the Seaford School District’s reading initiative “One Book, One Seaford”. Photo by Scott Bleile

Read this book with us! Everyone in the Blue Jay School Community received a copy of this book! #DreamChasers.”

“This idea was thought of by Mrs. Carol Leveillee, principal of Fred Douglass Elementary School as a way for our entire district to be engaged in the same learning activity,” said Dr. Corey Miklus, superintendent of the district. “I think it is a great way to develop a strong sense of community between our schools. During these uncertain times we feel it is important to stay connected with our school community with a fun and engaging activity.”

The district has mailed a copy to every school family in the district. “This Seaford initiative is called ‘One Book, One Seaford’,” said Leveillee. “The idea is that we want every family and staff member in Seaford School District to read the same book and to interact with the story. The book that we selected is called “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind”. Every family and staff member received a copy of the book as well as a calendar outlining a reading plan and some discussion questions. We also included some optional activities to do. If people want more information about the book, look on the Seaford website or the district’s Facebook page, click on parents and students; click on “One Book, One Seaford” and we have lots of information there as well. One of the themes of this book is perseverance and what better theme to read about (and it has a happy ending) than that!”

Kelly Hageman-Carvajal, Director of Instruction for the district said, “We want the students and parents to be united behind a common topic and what better way then to all read a book and then discuss the contents of the story. This book is a K-12 book for everyone. There are TED talks and a Netflix series about the book. The topic of overcoming adversity is the main idea of the book, just as we are all facing adversity now with dealing with the virus. A small boy living in Africa, takes on a challenge of not having enough food and water to go to school and learned how to build a windmill which helped the town prosper. We are doing this to cultivate the parent-child relationship. Carol and I along with Dr. Sharon DiGirolamo, Seaford’s Assistant Superintendent have been working on the initiative together. We have also included activities parents and students can work on together.”

People can go to the district website under parents/family to find information about the reading initiative.