For The Love Of Reading

Westfield-Mayville Rotary Club Gives 208 Books To Area Kindergarten Students

Kindergarteners (front, from left) Emma Oehlbeck and Ethan Taylor were two of all Sherman Central School students of this grade level who received their own copies of the book “We Can Get Along” by Lauren Murphy Payne from the Rotary Club of Westfield-Mayville on Sept. 28. Also pictured are (row two, from left) Sherman CSD kindergarten teacher Jennifer Benedetto; Westfield-Mayville Rotary Club President Elect Mary Swanson; Club President Janese Berkhouse; Club District Grants and Foundation Chair Jim Wakeman; and Sherman CSD kindergarten teacher Maureen Bogdanowicz.

Kindergarten students in the Sherman, Westfield, Chautauqua Lake, Ripley and Brocton School Districts are the proud owners of new books to take home and share with their family members thanks to the Rotary Club of Westfield-Mayville. Representatives of this organization recently visited kindergarten classrooms in the five school districts, gave brief talks and presented 208 children with copies of the book “We Can Get Along: A Child’s Book of Choices” (Payne, Lauren Murphy. Free Spirit Publishing, c. 2015. ISBN: 978-1-63198-027-5).

This title was selected for its themes of respect, kindness, tolerance and empathy. The purchase of the books was funded equally by the Rotary Club of Westfield-Mayville and a District Grant from Rotary District 7090 and The Rotary Foundation. Books were delivered to kindergarten classrooms in all five of the school districts between Sept. 28 and Oct. 10.

Janese Berkhouse, Westfield-Mayville Rotary Club President, stated, “This year’s grant project serves a dual purpose. It encompasses two of Rotary’s focuses, which are promoting peace and supporting education and literacy. By placing a book in each kindergartener’s hands, it is our hope that it is the start of a lifetime of reading. We Can Get Along encourages understanding and tolerance of others, as well as the development of peacemaking skills.”

Jim Wakeman, Westfield-Mayville Rotary Club District Grants Chair and Foundation Chair, added, “One of Rotary International’s six Areas of Focus is promoting peace and conflict prevention/resolution. This book teaches and encourages this, at the kindergarten level of readiness, through teaching about civility, tolerance and kindness. We hope that this gift, and the lessons it delivers, will bring some additional measure of peace to the lives of these children.”

Rotary International’s other areas of focus include the following: Disease prevention and treatment; Water and sanitation; Maternal and child health; Basic education and literacy; and Economic and community development. The motto of The Rotary Foundation is “Doing good in the world.”

On Oct. 10 all Brocton CSD kindergarten students were given copies of the book “We Can Get Along,” written by Lauren Murphy Payne, by representatives of the Rotary Club of Westfield-Mayville. Among the children who received books to take home were (front, from left) Amyra Maisonet, Joshua Lanski, Ryder Carlton and Lydia Lopez. Attending the classroom presentations were (back, from left) BCS kindergarten teacher Susan Boettcher; Westfield-Mayville Rotary Club Youth Services Chair Dan Smith; Club District Grants and Foundation Chair Jim Wakeman; Club President Janese Berkhouse; BCS Elementary Principal Sandra Kopiczak; and BCS kindergarten teacher Dawn Bates.

On Sept. 28, Sherman Central School kindergarten students were presented with their books. Jennifer Benedetto, a Sherman CSD kindergarten teacher, said, “Learning to get along is such an important lesson in the kindergarten classroom. Thanks to the Rotary Club of Westfield-Mayville, our students were able to receive their very own book that helped to share this valuable message! We were also able to add this wonderful book to our classroom library.”

Maureen Bogdanowicz, another kindergarten teacher in the Sherman CSD, stated, “Incorporating character education into daily lessons is so important in kindergarten. Through the use of picture books, the students are able to relate these lessons into “real world” situations. The book donated to each child from the Westfield-Mayville Rotary Club promotes peace and conflict resolution through literacy.”

Several pages in the back of the books are intended for parents, teachers and other “caring adults.” This section features various discussion starters and activities on the topics of recognizing and talking about feelings; coping with hurt feelings; using I-messages; agree to disagree; drawing together; positive choices; and lists about friendship and feelings. Parents and other caregivers of each kindergarten child are invited to read the book with the child after he/she brings it home, and reinforce the positive character skills of the book.

The Rotary Club of Westfield-Mayville serves the Brocton, Mayville, Ripley, Sherman and Westfield communities. It is one of 69 Rotary Clubs in Rotary District 7090, and it is affiliated with Rotary International, which worldwide has 1.2 million members. The object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service. Avenues of service within Rotary focus on numerous community, international, vocational, club, and youth programs and projects.

For more information about the Rotary Club of Westfield-Mayville, contact Club President Janese Berkhouse at 326-4507 or

On Oct. 4 Chautauqua Lake Central School kindergarten students (front, from left) Aubrey Olson, Ethan Hammond and Amelia Schieber were among the children who were given copies of the book titled “We Can Get Along” written by Lauren Murphy Payne. In support of civility and literacy, all of this school district’s kindergarten students received copies of the book from the Rotary Club of Westfield-Mayville. Also present were (back, from left) Club Public Relations Chair Sue Hammond; Club District Grants and Foundation Chair Jim Wakeman; CLCSD Superintendent and Rotarian Ben Spitzer; and CLCSD Elementary Principal Ella Ames. Photo By Wendy Westwood

Some of the 44 Westfield Academy & Central School kindergarten students who became the proud owners of “We Can Get Along” books given by the Rotary Club of Westfield-Mayville on Oct. 3 were (front, from left) Liam Zakrajsek, Jose Sanabria, Savannah Stein and Greysson Lamphere. Also present were (row two, from left) WACS teachers Joan Clamp, Tamara Meyer, Kelly DeLand and Nancy Miller, and (row three, from left) Westfield-Mayville Rotary Club Treasurer Tracy Bennett; Club District Grants and Foundation Chair Jim Wakeman; Community Service Chair Tom Berkhouse; and President Janese Berkhouse.

Three former Ripley Central School District administrators, now retired and members of the Rotary Club of Westfield-Mayville, returned to the school on Oct. 6 for the purpose of representing their Rotary Club by speaking to kindergarten students and giving all of them copies of the book “We Can Get Along” by Lauren Murphy Payne. Pictured are kindergarteners (front, from left) Liam Doner and Nelly Baker, and (back, from left) kindergarten teacher Shannon Rowe; former RCS Superintendent John Hamels, PhD.; former RCS Elementary Principal and Director of Special Education Jim Wakeman; former RCS High School Principal Sue Hammond; and kindergarten teacher Rebecca Humbert. Photo by Seneca Wilkinson Dikeman