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State Honoree

Chad Worster

Maine

Chad Worster, 14, of Winterport, Maine, an eighth-grader at Wagner Middle School, has devoted five weeks of each summer vacation over the past four years to volunteering at a summer reading program for low-achieving elementary school students. When a former teacher suggested that the program could benefit from his involvement, Chad recalled his own summer-school experience years earlier, and eagerly agreed to help. "At the time, I did not realize the impact I would have on the program or on the kids," Chad said. "I just wanted to make it better for the kids who have to go to summer school."

Chad has to be at school by 6:00 each morning to get ready for his volunteer job. After spending an hour and a half preparing for the day's activities, he leads group lessons in spelling and journal-writing, reads to the kids and has them read aloud to him, organizes games such as kickball and tag in the gym, assists with art projects, and serves snacks. He also encourages and mentors the young students. "Up until my involvement, many students did not enjoy summer reading school program," said Chad. "I made it fun and gave the students something to look forward to everyday."