By Tim Leeds
Some 30 grade-school students gathered at the Montanan State University-Northern Student Union Building Tuesday with friends and family to celebrate a birthday.
The birthday boy wasn't there. They were celebrating the 96th birthday of the late Theodore Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss.
The party was held as part of the After School Adventures Program (ASAP), sponsored by MSU-Northern, Americorps, Montana Reads, and the local school districts.
Jeanne Kolis, team leader for the Americorps project on the MSU-Northern campus, said this is the second year they have celebrated Geisel's birthday, who was born on March 2, 1904. She said it may become an annual event at the campus.
The children were divided into groups as they registered and were read Dr. Seuss books until all were registered and the activities ready to begin. Some of the children brought their own books to the party, Kolis said.
Once all the children were registered and grouped, Kolis led the party through singing happy birthday to Dr. Seuss, then the groups were then rotated through five games.
The games all had Dr. Seuss themes. There was a Dr. Seuss cakewalk where the students walked around a path made of photocopies of his book covers, a Cat in the Hat musical chairs game, a Green Eggs and Ham beanbag toss, a One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish Go Fishing! game and a Green Eggs and Ham game where the children tossed cardboard green eggs and ham into a basket.
At the end of the party treats were passed out to the children.
The birthday party was organized by the volunteer team members of the ASAP program.
The ASAP program is in its third year in Havre. It began on Jan. 31 this year and ends on March 9. It is designed to help children in first through third grades who have difficulty reading at their grade level.
ASAP provides trained tutors from the university and community to help the students, Kolis said. She said there are about 27 tutors currently in the program.
Kolis said most of the organization and function of the program is provided by these volunteer team members.
The tutors are available to children enrolled Monday through Friday from 4 to 5 p.m. at Cowan Hall on the MSU-Northern campus. The children enrolled read with their tutors and work with them on word games and puzzles, phonics songs and activities designed to supplement the child's reading experience.
The program is designed to meet the needs of 50 children. The program is voluntary, but applications and registration was necessary due to limited space availability.
Kolis said the ASAP program is part of Montana Reads, a unit of the America Reads program. This program is intended to coordinate volunteer efforts to help and encourage reading in first though third grades.
Kolis said Americorps is a group started by President Clinton early in his term. She said the group is modeled after the Peace Corps, and is intented to provide service in local communities. She said it is aimed at involving college students in local activities and projects.
Kolis said since Americorps targets college students, it was natural for her to become involved in the Montana Reads program and involve the campus and student body in the project.
For more information about ASAP or Americorps, Kolis can be reached at 265-3700. Please leave a voice-mail if she is not in.