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Board adds student-compiled book to libraries

| Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Southmoreland School Board made sure copies of the student-compiled book “Scottie, You Are Special” will be available in each of the district's school libraries.

The book was a continuation of the district's Reading Buddies Program, which on Fridays saw as many as 50 high school students trekking to the primary center after school to read to their younger colleagues. Some of these high school students handled the writing and illustration in the book

“Scottie, You Are Special,” tells the story of a Scottie dog on a journey to find self-esteem.

Language arts teacher Jenna Hixson and two of the students — sophomores Bradley Howells and Samantha Gray — spoke to the board Oct. 10 about both the book and Reading Buddies.

“I once read to a girl that was so shy,” Gray said. “Her dream was to have her own horse. I told her about my horse that I have...She got so excited. It made me feel like a big sister for a half hour.”

Gray oversaw the illustration for the book.

Hixson reiterated to the board a point she made during the Reading Buddies Program about how touched and impressed she was with the response from the high school students.

“Last year, seeing Reading Buddies was probably the most memorable experience I've had (as a teacher),” she said.

Hixson said a similar book project is in the works this year detailing further the exploits of Scottie. It will be called, “Scottie Pays it Forward.”

Superintendent John Molnar expressed his delight with the involvement of the high school students in Reading Buddies.

“Volunteers stay after school,” he said. “That is special.”

School Director Gail Rhodes suggested providing copies of the book in all of the district's school libraries.

“I think it's a wonderful, wonderful opportunity that our students have to not only help students in our own school district, but (the books) are also available for other school districts,” Rhodes said.

The motion was approved by the six board members in attendance — Rhodes, Catherine Fike, Josie Kauffman, Michael Bentz, Aimee Love and Jason Pawlikowsky.

The book is available at

In other business:

• The board renewed the agreement with John Stiver to provide single audit services as he has done for many years for fiscal years 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15. The cost for each year is: 2012-13, $12,625; 2013-14, $13,140, and 2014-15, $13,675. Fike cast the lone negative vote on this motion

• The board approved an agreement with Chestnut Ridge Counseling Services for the provision of educational services to children with emotional and behavioral needs.

• School directors appointed Brenton and Angela DeFlitch as sponsors for the high school play at a rate of $1,290 each.

Brenton DeFlitch said he knows what the play will be, but he is not revealing that information as of yet.

• Kurt Olinger was approved as second assistant soccer coach at a salary of $2,733 (prorated).

Paul Paterra is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-887-6101 or