Phoenix Pogue shakes hands with Red Deer Public Schools superintendent Stu Henry after receiving her Reading College diploma Friday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

Sixty-four graduate from Reading College

A summer program helped make reading easier for more than 60 children.

Family and friends gathered at Red Deer College Friday to celebrate the graduation of 64 Reading College students.

“The kids work super hard and deserve this celebration,” program co-ordinator Elvy Goring said. “It’s a very intense program. We do have fun in the afternoon, but the mornings are very fast-paced.”

Through Reading College’s six years in Red Deer, this is the most students they have had. Since year one, the number of students has more than doubled.

Graduation was a ton of fun for everyone involved, Goring said.

“The kids were so excited about it, and I could tell from their stories the families were, too. The parents are huge supporters of this, and they’re so thrilled their kids are getting this opportunity.”

Reading College is a 20-day program where youths who are behind in reading ability are given the opportunity to build their skills and independence.

“When kids struggle with reading and writing, school’s not always a great place to be,” she said.

Seeing the change in the students’ abilities over the course of the program is remarkable, said Red Deer Public Schools superintendent Stu Henry.

“The kids did so well; grew in their reading scores and their writing improved. It’s pretty dramatic what you can get done in just 20 days with motivated kids,” Henry said.

All 64 children who entered the program successfully completed the course.

Brad and Ena Screpnek were in attendance Friday to see their eight-year-old great-granddaughter Heather Hort graduate.

The graduation “was absolutely incredible. It’s just a fantastic program … Heather has improved so much since the start of the summer,” Ena Screpnek said.

“She said to us, ‘I don’t want to leave,’ because she was having so much fun there,” Brad Screpnek added.

Tammy Fleury, mother of eight-year-old Amelia, said her daughter enjoyed Reading College as well.

“It was really good for her, and she loved her summer. She just liked all of it, and she got to hang out with her best friend every day,” Fleury said.

Alberta Minister of Education David Eggen spoke to students during the ceremony, congratulating them on their success.


Alberta education minister David Eggen speaks at Reading College’s graduation Friday afternoon at Red Deer College. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

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