The following appeared in The Republican-American - https://www.rep-am.com/
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WOODBURY – The entire student body – and even some faculty and staff – at Woodbury Middle School will be reading the book “Wishtree” later this month in what student organizers call a “one school, one book” effort designed to promote community through reading.
Principal Bill Nemec said the “one school, one book” concept also promotes the school’s Warrior Way mentality, which champions the idea of respect, responsibility and positive relationships with others.
Reading together and out loud creates an atmosphere where sixth, seventh and eighth graders will share a common bond and have something in common to talk about, student event organizers said.
“We really think this is an important thing to do because it can bring our school so much closer together. It will give people something to talk about other than midterms and finals or whatever drama is happening in the seventh grade,” eighth-grade event organizer Sage Samuelson said.
Sixth grader Jack Nettleton said “Wishtree” is an ideal book for the group read as it promotes respecting both people and nature and the idea of being inclusive to all.
In the book, Red, an old oak tree, serves as the neighborhood “Wishtree” where people and. animals can make wishes by tying a piece of cloth to its branches. There is a twist to the story, and by the end, students say, Katherine Appleton’s book is filled with hope, warmth and reinforces the idea of community.
“The book is really good for all of the students to read because it teaches us to respect things, and that things are always important, even if they don’t seem like it, and they hold a lot of memories that you might not know are there, but they’re there,” said sixth-grade organizer Demi Jones.
On Wednesday, the “one school one book” student committee met with staff members to discuss the plan of action, which includes reading the book aloud to students, discussing the book, and taking part in various activities associated with the book.
There is talk of maybe planting a real tree on the middle school campus. The six-week read-aloud will conclude with a pep rally of sorts on May 1, which is wishing day, according to the book.
Samuelson said she hopes the “one school, one book” event will succeed in getting everyone on the same page, literally.
Library media specialist Aimee Shuhart said starting a “one school, one book” program has been “a dream of mine” since she arrived three years ago, and now her dream (and wish) appears to have come true.