|For Immediate Release|
|Tuesday, February 3, 1998|
Governor Cellucci, Commissioner Antonucci "Spread The Word" to 465 Worcester Students
The four hundred sixty-five children in the kindergarten, first, second and third grades at the Quinsigamond Elementary School in Worcester received a surprise gift delivered by Governor A. Paul Cellucci on Tuesday morning.
Each child in the school was presented a bag with five books, which were donated by children and families in Melrose, Southborough, Stoughton, Westport, and Wilbraham. The books are gifts for the children to take home and keep as their own.
The kids-to-kids book distribution initiative, called "Spread the Word," was begun in 1995 by then Lt. Governor Cellucci and his wife, Jan, along with then Secretary of Education Michael Sentance. Now Commissioner of Education Robert V. Antonucci coordinates the program.
The children at the Quinsigamond School are among 12,000 grade K-3 students statewide in 26 schools in 10 different school districts who will receive a total of 60,000 books this year. The recipient schools were selected from the results of a 1996 state survey of fourth graders who were asked about the number of books they owned at home. Schools which reported the lowest rate of book ownership were selected to receive books this year. In addition to Worcester, students in Boston, Brockton, Chelsea, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, New Bedford and Springfield are receiving books.
"Books can be the portals to other times and other countries. Books can help young people understand our history and the heroes and heroines who have made this nation," Cellucci said. "In spite of the best efforts of our schools and libraries, we know that sometimes books aren't always available to young people. Spread the Word seeks to step forward and provide more books for children to take home as their own and read many times," Cellucci added.
Commissioner Antonucci noted, "The Spread the Word initiative connects children and families who have resources with children and families who don't have those resources at home. It is inspiring to see how many children, parents and teachers are excited about this book redistribution and are making terrific efforts to collect books in their schools."
Joining Governor Cellucci and Commissioner Antonucci in distributing the 2,325 books at the event at the Quinsigamond School were Superintendent of the Worcester Schools James Garvey, Quinsigamond School Principal Lou Pero, Roberta Schaefer, a member of the MA Board of Education from Worcester, State Senators Matt Amorello and Robert Bernstein from Worcester, and representatives from three of the donor schools.