MONTVILLE, NJ – District administrators, dignitaries and moms gathered at Woodmont Elementary School March 1 for the 20th anniversary Read Across America event, during which the adults read books to the students and talked about their love of books, the importance of reading, and their occupations.

The National Education Association initiative centers around the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss, and activities were planned at the school for the entire week, such as dress-up themed days, buddy reading, and a theater performance by teachers.

Over in Mr. Marra’s and Mrs. Brun’s fifth grade classroom, Morris County Sheriff James Gannon read “What Really Happened to Humpty?”, a detective-style mystery story about the possibility that the fabled egg may have been pushed. Gannon told the children to “always believe in yourself,” and that the favorite part of his job was helping people.

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“I spend a lot of time in the community, because they’re my bosses,” he told the students.

Montville Township Police Officer Scott McGowan read “Officer Buckle and Gloria” to Mrs. Santiago’s kindergarteners, telling the students that his children love the book too. The story tells of a police officer who delivers safety tips to school children with the help of his dog, Gloria.

Sergeants First Class James Paska and Petrina Brown (U.S. Army) visited Mrs. Murawski’s and Mrs. Carlucci’s fourth grade class. Sgt. Paska read the book “Nubs,” about a dog who became the pet of a soldier and later traveled to the U.S.

Paska said he was in the artillery branch as a paratrooper, while Brown worked in the logistics division. Both are now recruiters.

“We are all authors of our own stories,” Paska told the students.

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