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High School Students Lead Waverly Read Aloud

Soo Jung Lee reads to students in Mrs. Ullrich's classSoo Jung Lee might not have much experience reading to a kindergarten class, but when the 10th grader found herself in front of Nicole Ullrich’s students on Tuesday morning, she couldn’t help but feel like she had been there before. 


On March 14, Lee—along with a host of other members of the Eastchester Government Organization (EGO)—visited the Waverly School to read aloud to students in grades K-1 as part of the EHS/Waverly Read Aloud, an annual event that offers high schoolers a chance to reflect on their past while encouraging a passion for reading in the next generation of Eastchester students.


EGO members stopped by different classrooms to read from “I’m Not Scared, You’re Scared” by Seth Meyers, a book that aligns with Waverly's monthly theme, which is "courage."


As a former student of Ullrich, Lee admitted it was something of a surreal experience to share the book with current kindergartners as Ullrich looked on.


“Mrs. Ullrich is exactly the same as she was, and looking at the kids, I think I saw myself in them,” said Lee. “She used to read to us a lot in that same chair area, so when I was sitting there, I felt really nostalgic.”


The Read Aloud was launched in 2017, and has become a much-beloved tradition in the years since, said EHS librarian Nancy Brown. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Tuesday marked the first time since 2019 that the event was held in person—last year’s Read Aloud was done via Zoom—something that Brown said was cause for celebration.


“This event is so meaningful to the students of the Eastchester School District; it helps to build a sense of community between our youngest students and those who are close to graduating,” said Brown. “The students share the joy of reading with each other and discover the power of literature to unite.” 


Junior Ryan Reilly said that he relished the opportunity to give back to younger students in the district and added that the theme of Meyers' book, which dealt with how confronting one’s fears is an important step towards personal growth, is an especially poignant one for the first graders. 


“It was great being back, I haven’t been in this building forever,” he said. “And this is an important message for these students, because it’s a big transition next year when they move on from Waverly to attend school at Anne Hutchinson and Greenvale.


“I remember being scared about that, because I wasn’t going to be with everyone in one place anymore,” he added. “But in the end, it turned out great.”