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Becky Wheeler, a member of the Beta Mu chapter of the Delta Kappa Gamma
Society, helps students enjoy their books and blankets.
Cook students get books and blankets
BY KIM UNDERWOOD
Being given a book of your own to
take home and keep is great. Being given
a hand-made reading blanket to go with
the book is even better.
That's what happened with second
graders at Cook Literacy Model School
and the Elementary School Academy. On
Tuesday, Nov. 29, five women who are
members of the Beta Mu chapter of the
Delta Kappa Gamma Society came to the
media center at Cook carrying a box of
books and bag after bag of hand-made
When all the second-graders gathered
in the media center, the blankets were a
mystery to the students at first because
each one was inside a white plastic bag.
So, students could squish them, and they
could see intriguing bits of color peeking
through. But they couldn't be sure what
treat awaited them.
The society is made up of educators -
some retired and some still teaching - and,
as the second-graders pondered the mys
tery, Cook media coordinator Walter
Carmichael introduced the women.
"Some of them teach kids just like
you," Carmichael said. "They know how
important reading is and how important
feeling comfortable is."
Carmichael told the students that,
along with whatever was inside the mys
tery bag, they would also be given a book
called "Freedom on the Menu: The
Greensboro Sit-ins" by Carole Boston
"The author was here last year,"
Carmichael said. "The story takes place
about 20 minutes from here in downtown
After leading the students in a big
"Thank You!!!", Carmichael introduced
Judith Kuhn, a retired teacher who serves
as president of the chapter. After Kuhn
showed the students a bookplate inside the
cover of each book where they could write
their name so everyone would know it
belonged to them, it was time for the
moment of revelation.
"Please know there was love used in
making these blankets," Kuhn said.
She invited the students to open then
bags, which they did with delight. The
blankets inside were made of knotted
fleece. One side had a single color, the
other had one colorful pattern or another.
The five women there and another 20
members of the chapter had worked
together in a number of sessions to hand
make all of the blankets.
"It was fun," said Inez Davis, who
teaches at the N.C. School of the Arts.
The children showed off their blankets
to each other. Some pulled their blankets
over their heads. That was exactly what
the women had in mind with the Cuddle
Up & Read project, they called it. They
hoped that, whatever way felt best, the
children would use the blankets to make
the reading experience cozier.
It was clearly a memorable experience
for second-grader Glenndon Gordon.
"It felt like I was getting a cake,"
The women had predicted that, if
asked whether the blanket or book felt like
the bigger deal, many children would pick
"It was fun to see them so excited,"
said Lynn Roach. "I think the blankets
were more popular than the books."
That was certainly the case with
Glenndon and with second-grader Ionna
"This blanket feels very good," Ionna
said. "I like the colors and I like the butter
flies on it. My Momma is going to be so
The women said they chose to give a
book and blanket to second-graders
because third-grade is coming up and,
with third grade, comes standardized test
ing. So they wanted to do something now
to help encourage a love of reading in the
The book was chosen because of the
local connection with both the author visit
and the subject.
For Cook second-grade teacher Kristin
Edmunds, an important fringe benefit of
the gifts was the attention that came with
"The kids get the love and experience
of all those people around them,"
Edmunds said. "They get the support of
the community around them."
Stephanie McDowell, who teaches
second grade at the Elementary School
Academy, which is on the Cook campus,
said: "Seeing the kids' eyes light up at the
unveiling of the gifted quilts from Delta
Kappa Gamma Society was inspiring.
Those personalized presents, unique for
each child, communicated a figurative and
literal warmth that these little ones rarely
Afterward, members of the chapter
also talked about it being a great experi
"I was really excited by it," said
"I got tears in my eyes," said Becky
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Pictured from left
to right are
Lisa W. Smith,
Farid, and Past
Matron Hattie B.
Eastern Star chapter
SPECIAL TO THE CHRONICLE
Sisters of Bivouac Chapter #530 Order
of the Eastern Star, PHA, awarded $500
scholarships to two students in Forsyth
County, Yakira Samira Muhammad and
Treyandrea Breanna Nicole Farid for the
2015-2016 fiscal year.
Farid graduated from Winston-Salem
Preparatory Academy. She is attending
Appalachian State University, majoring in
accounting. Muhammad graduated from
Carver High School and is attending East
Carolina University majoring in Biology.
Sisters of Bivouac Chapter #530, under
the leadership of Lisa W. Smith as Worthy
Matron and David Peay as Worthy Patron,
continued to lead the chapter, reaching fur
ther to assist and help others in need in the
"The chapter is excited for these schol
arship recipients and are grateful for the
support received from chapter members as
well as the community to afford the chap
ter the opportunity to award a total of
$1,000 in scholarship to aid in furthering
the educational endeavors of young people
in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County
Community," a Bivouac Chapter #530
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