Page-Turners: Donchess awards Winter Reading Contest winners

Photo by GEORGE PELLETIER Savesh Mahadik, a first-grade student at Bicentennial School, poses proudly with his family after receiving his award.

NASHUA – The Nashua City Hall Auditorium was packed with exuberant students and their families as Mayor Jim Donchess hosted the Winter Reading Challenge Awards Ceremony for Nashua school students, grades one through five on Saturday.

“The students here have read so many books,” Donchess said. “I am so impressed at all their hard work.”

The program is a collaboration between the Mayor’s Office, the Arlington Street Community Center, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, the Nashua Public Library and the Nashua School District.

At the event, every student received a certificate of participation, and prizes were awarded by grade level for best book reviews and most books read.

The Mayor’s Winter Reading Challenge is a program for Nashua children in grades one though five that encourages them to keep up on their reading during the winter months, to continue building their vocabulary and reading skills, while providing opportunities to share books and stories.

Donchess shared his own story about his life-long passion for reading with the students.

I’ve been a life-long reader, and I encourage you all to read, through all your schooling and as adults,” he said. “For me, I was looking and looking for a book by Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of England during World War II. And I kept saying, ‘Where is it?'”

The Nashua Public Library’s Jen McCormack borrowed the book for him from the library at Keene State College.

“I’m reading it now,” enthused the mayor, holding up the book.

Sai Kotagaslapalle, a fifth-grader at Bicentennial School proudly showed her award after the ceremony.

“I read more than 10 books. But I forgot to record them on the website,” she said, still upbeat. Sia’s favorite subjects are math, science and English.

“It’s a great thing that all of these participants are students and they’ve gone on to read so many books,” Donchess said of the event. “Today, we want to recognize their efforts and encourage them to continue to read, to continue to learn and do well in school.”