Author James Patterson, Literacy Coalition Recognize Local Students, Schools at ReaderCorps Finale

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla., April 28, 2017 – It could not have been a more fitting finale to the 2017 ReaderCorps initiative aimed at getting youth excited about reading: an appearance by bestselling author James Patterson. Patterson’s Treasure Hunters, Middle School, and I Funny book series are wildly popular with young readers.

Patterson joined the Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County at an April 26 finale at the Blume Literacy Center on the Brenda & C.P. Medore Campus in Boynton Beach to celebrate the students, schools and community groups who embraced the true spirit of the 2017 ReaderCorps campaign.

The Coalition kicked off the ReaderCorps initiative during Florida Literacy Week as a way to provide meaningful service opportunities for children and teens that make them excited about reading while supporting literacy in Palm Beach County. Through ReaderCorps, youth earn prizes and recognition for reading and promoting the value of literacy.

All told, nearly 300 students from 28 cities attending 60 public, private, charter and homeschools in South Florida – and a few from other states – participated in the Coalition’s 2017 ReaderCorps campaign. And nearly 2,300 books and 272,000 total pages were read during the 3-month campaign.

Awards were given in several categories during the ReaderCorps finale celebration:
Most Books Read – K-2:
• Steven Webb, a kindergartner at Binks Forest Elementary in Wellington, read 59 books.
• Erica Bojanowski, a 1st grader at Binks Forest Elementary in Wellington, read 42 books.
• Jack Bojanowski, a 2nd grader at Binks Forest Elementary in Wellington, read 37 books

Most Pages Read – K-2:
• Lila Drowas, a 2nd grader at Donna Klein Jewish Academy in Boca Raton, read 2,646 pages. That’s 1,000 pages more than anyone else in her age group.

Most Books Read – 3-5:
• Tommy Bojanowski, a 5th grader at Binks Forest Elementary in Wellington, read 70 books.

Most Pages Read – 3-5:
• Wandaya Pearsall, a 5th grader at Binks Forest Elementary in Wellington, read 23,627 pages.
• Karen Awaida, a 4th grader at Gulf Stream, read 11,254 pages.
• Isabella Mariconda, a 5th grader who is homeschooled read more than 3,600 pages.

Literacy Coalition Read-A-Thon Particiants: The following students chose to get sponsors for their reading to raise funds to help other children learn to read and to have books in their homes:
• Karen Awaida, Gulf Stream School
• Caroline Calder, Gulf Stream School
• Harrison Calder, Gulf Stream School
• Tessie Goron, Binks Forest Elementary
• Grace Vera, Bak Middle School of the Arts
• Steven Webb, Binks Forest Elementary
• Athena Zarcadoolas, Gulf Stream School
• Dorothea Zarcadoolas, Gulf Stream School

Child Who Updated Their Progress the Most:
• Kenley Spence, a 2nd grader at Grassy Waters Elementary in West Palm Beach, updated her progress at all 4 check-ins and attended the Literacy Coalition’s American Girl Book Bash. She read 9 books and almost 900 pages during the Coalition’s read-a-thon.

School with the Most Participants:
• Congress Middle School in Boynton Beach – 92 students signed up and participated in a Buddy Reading program and helped organize a book drive.

• Students Who Organized Community Service Projects:
• Aidan, Bryce and Tanner Gunning, students at Sandpiper Shores Elementary and Eagle’s Landing Middle School, both in Boca Raton, collected nearly 800 books for children in need through a book drive.
• Jack and Andrew Young, Colin Riley and teacher Hillary Feerick-Hillenbrand from St. Andrews School in Boca Raton organized a book drive and team participation in the Loop for Literacy fundraiser.
• Lila Drowas, a 2nd grader at Donna Klein Jewish Academy in Boca Raton, organized a mom and daughter book club. Six girls from different schools read the same book voted on by the moms and then met monthly to discuss the book and complete a project based on the book.
• The Harry Potter Club from North Broward Preparatory School donated $500 raised with a Quidditch tournament at school.
• Jack Metzger, a student at Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach, held a school book drive.
• Joseph Metlika and Scott Frederick, who attend JC Mitchell Elementary in Boca Raton, organized a book drive as a Scout project.

Adult Ambassadors:
• Caroline Epstein, Binks Forest Elementary librarian, headed up the ReaderCorps effort at her school
• Hollyanne Ruffner, who oversees the media specialists in the School District of Palm Beach County, rallied support the district.
• Margaret Humphry, a director at Boynton Beach Head Start, kept track of the 203 books read to her students.
Recipient awards included prizes and gift cards from Barnes & Noble, Miami Seaquarium, Sea World, Build-A-Bear, Butterfly World, Duffy’s, The Rapids, Palm Beach Ice Works, Lion Country Safari, and the South Florida Science Center.
“We are thrilled that so many students, teachers and community members came together to celebrate and support reading for fun,” said Kristin Calder, chief executive officer of the Literacy Coalition. “In addition, we are grateful to the students who raised funds in our read-a-thon and organized activities in support of literacy to help share books with families who do not have books at home.”
Thanks to the book drives and donations made through the 2017 ReaderCorps campaign, the Literacy Coalition will be able to provide an additional 2,000 books to children in Palm Beach County. The Literacy Coalition distributes 70,000 books each year to adults, children and families in the County.

For more information about the Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County, or to get involved, please call 561-279-9103 or visit

About the Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County
A recipient of the coveted 4-star Charity Navigator rating for eight consecutive years, the Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County works to improve the quality of life in our community by promoting and achieving literacy. One in seven adults in our county is unable to read and understand information found in books, newspapers and manuals and nearly half of all third graders are not reading on grade level. Through extensive outreach and collaboration with a network of community partners, the Literacy Coalition strives to ensure that individuals who need to improve their literacy skills receive the help they need. By providing services to more than 27,000 adults, children and families each year, the Literacy Coalition’s goal is for every child and every adult in Palm Beach County to be able to read.