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Elsmere students read to give

Whether their motive was reading to give or giving to read, Elsmere students have won the Scholastic Book Clubs' national Whoopi! We're Reading! Sweepstakes.

Fifth-grade teacher Mike Valenti's class was one of 100 classes to win the award out of more than 17,000 classes around the country. As a part of the award, elementary students are being given 1,000 books from Scholastic to donate to local charities, nonprofits and educational organizations.

Valenti's class chose to give the books to Trinity Institution " Homer Perkins Center, Inc.; Two Together; Albany Mothers Book Club; Albany Medical Center; and the new Eagle Elementary School under construction in the Bethlehem Central School District.

"They've all responded, and they'll all be here," Valenti said of the charities.

All of the prizewinners participated in Scholastic Book Clubs' ClassroomsCare program, which promotes reading with the promise that for every 100 books read by students across the nation, 100 books would be donated to children in need.

The books will be donated this Friday, Feb. 15, at 2:30 p.m. in the Elsmere Elementary School gym. The recipients of the books will be in the audience during the award ceremony.

"My students and I were so excited when we found out we won this sweepstakes," Valenti said in a release. "We love ClassroomsCare, and it's even better that we were able to donate the books we won to local charities. My students have been reading a lot this year, and now they're learning how special it is to give, especially to those less fortunate."

Actress and advocate Whoopi Goldberg initiated the contest when she challenged classrooms across the country to read for the chance to give others. Goldberg announced the winners on her nationally syndicated radio show, "Wake up with Whoopi!"

"They sent me a live clip of Whoopi announcing it on her show," Valenti said. "It was an audio clip I played it for the all the kids and the class was really excited."

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