Whiting School Hosts One School, One Book Initiative

Whiting Elementary School staff and supporters gather in celebration of the One School, One Book Initiative - a national reading program. (Photo courtesy Manchester Schools)

  MANCHESTER – When it comes to compassion, students throughout the Whiting Elementary School were on the same page.

  This fall, Whiting Elementary School participated in the national program One School, One Book. This is when a school selects a book and each student in the school receives a copy to read at home as a family.

  Planning for Whiting School’s One School, One Book initiative started last summer. Lindsey Ipock, a Whiting parent, recommended to Principal Eveyln Swift the idea of a school initiative that would highlight the importance of accepting the physical differences in one another as a value.

  Principal Swift said she saw this as an opportunity to incorporate Ipock’s idea with Whiting School’s One School, One Book initiative through the book “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio.

  The book follows the story of August, a 10-year-old with facial differences, who is attending school for the first time.

  Kids in grades 3 through 5 read “Wonder” while younger grades read “We’re All Wonders,” an age-appropriate counterpart by the same author.

A national reading program concluded with a drive-in movie night. (Photo courtesy Manchester Schools)

  Books were purchased thanks to the generous donation made by Philly Phaces. Philly Phaces is grassroots, all-volunteer, nonprofit organization that focuses on children with congenital facial abnormality in the Philadelphia Metro Area (phillyphaces.org).

  At Whiting’s back-to-school and book fair nights, Principal Swift mentioned the initiative to parents which was well received. Teachers incorporated reading “Wonder” into their classroom instruction. Families were encouraged to create reading schedules for home.

  To kick off Whiting School’s final week of One School, One Book, World Kindness Day brought a special guest speaker from the Children’s Craniofacial Association (ccakids.org). The speaker was a student from St. Peter’s University who was joined by her family to share her story. The theme of the inspiring discussion was “different is beautiful” and engaged Whiting’s students in an impactful dialogue with the guest speaker.

  The week of activities culminated with the school’s One School, One Book initiative with a drive-in movie night. Thanks to Whiting parent volunteer Sonia Pinho, the evening was funded 100% by community donations.

A gathering at the Whiting School gymnasium was held in relation to the One School, One Book national reading program to teach compassion. (Photo courtesy Manchester Schools)

  Manchester Township High School was the location for the event which brought approximately 100 Whiting School families together to watch the movie “Wonder” during a fun drive-in moving experience. Students played games before the movie and, like old time drive-ins, they could eat snacks in their car while watching the movie.

  The school district acknowledged the assistance of Philly Phaces/Lindsey Ipock – Wonder Books, Auto Deluxe Center LLC, Sonia Pinho and Joe Pinho/McCarthy Tire Service, Township Mayor Robert Arace, Arbor Smith Tree Service LLC, Protastic Cleaning/Painting/Lindsey Ipock, HTJ Lawncare & Landscaping, Sean Conniff LLC, Conniff Construction Company, KC Marketplace/Christina Kine, The Haven Group/Jessi Allen, Manchester Township PBA and Erica Weaver.