Uniting for Literacy: Half Hollow Hills Central School District

Jess Estrada's picture
Posted by Jess Estrada on
Mon, 03/02/2015

We love hearing from our Students Rebuild Challenge Teams! Today we're pleased to share this blog from Lorraine Lupinskie-Huvane, teacher and Challenge team leader at Half Hollow Hills Central School District in New York who rallied her students and fellow educators to participate in the Students Rebuild Literacy Challenge.

Want to share your story? Contact us with your thoughts and photos!


Earlier this year one of the most outstanding teachers I have ever had the pleasure of working with shared with me her plans to have her students participate in the Students Rebuild Literacy Challenge. Speaking with her and learning of the Challenge, I realized it was an incredible opportunity for a true service learning project that could be shared with students from kindergarten through grade 12. Together, we gathered a small group of committed and passionate teachers and I quickly concluded that if I just got out of the way, they would be able to plan a learning and service experience for every child in our school district - and they quickly did.  

Students from our high schools (we have two) worked to create a video of our youngest students talking about the importance of learning to read. They then used this video along with a short presentation and visited all of our elementary classrooms to teach students about the Literacy Challenge and how making a bookmark could make a difference in another child's life. The teachers also made presentations that were shown to all of of middle school and high school students and they too have made bookmarks (or will do so this coming week).  

All told we will likely be sending you over 5,000 bookmarks by the end of this week. (They actually sent us 7,958 bookmarks!)

The Challenge provided us at Half Hollow Hills with a great way to pursue one of my departmental goals (service learning and providing hands-on learning opportunities for true civic action), but it would not have been possible without the support of many and the hard work of a great team.

Later this week, Cindy Cullen (social studies teacher at High School East) will be sending the bookmarks (she initiated the idea and worked tirelessly gathering materials and organizing); Jessica Nolan (social studies teacher at High School East) worked with Cortney Silberman (also social studies at High School East) and Robert Thidemann (social studies at High School West) to create the elementary presentations and organized the visits to the elementary classrooms; and Allison Uttendorfer (High School East art teacher) who created a logo that we used to promote our efforts. They truly did an incredible job!

Thanks for your time and have a wonderful week,”

Lorraine Lupinskie-Huvane

Director of Social Studies

Half Hollow Hills Central School District, New York 


The Students Rebuild Literacy Challenge, in partnership with Save the Children and Global Nomads Group, will help thousands of children in disadvantaged communities become successful life-long readers and learners. The Bezos Family Foundation, through Students Rebuild, will match each bookmark you make and mail in with $1—up to $300,000—for Save the Children’s Literacy Boost program in Mali, Nepal and Peru. The more bookmarks you send, the more children we’ll reach!