Holley students celebrate reading and rally behind grad who wants to run again

Photos by Kristina Gabalski: The bleachers in the Holley Elementary intermediate gym are usually red for the Holley Hawks, but Friday afternoon they were a sea of blue as students gathered for the Pick a Reading Partner (PARP) assembly.

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 20 January 2018 at 10:10 am

Sierra Mendes had a leg amputated due to injuries from a serious car accident

Sierra Mendes

HOLLEY – The Holley Elementary School celebrated students’ reading achievements during a high-energy assembly on Friday and also introduced students to a recent graduate.

Sierra Mendes graduated in 2012. She recently suffered the amputation of one of her legs due to damage from a  serious car accident in 2012.

Mendes wants to receive a running blade which will help her to run once again with her sister. The Holley Elementary Student Council plans a special Walk-A-Thon on Feb. 8 to raise funds for the running blade.

Elementary Student Council faculty advisor Sally Martin introduced Sierra to students Friday afternoon during the annual Pick A Reading Partner (PARP) assembly.

Martin explained to students that Sierra was involved in a serious car accident five years ago and suffered severe injuries to her legs. Her right leg continued to cause her so much pain, she decided to undergo an amputation, and now has a metal leg which allows her to do almost everything except run, an activity she used to love to do with her sister.

Sierra now lives in Rochester and told Orleans Hub that Holley faculty reached out to her after she started a Go Fund Me account.

“Everyone has been so supportive,” Sierra said. “I loved running and have missed it, it would feel like a personal triumph to be able to run again.”

Pre-K students hold up letters that spell out READING.  Students were told they all have a talent for reading. Behind the students are Grace Azzolino, children’s librarian at the Holley Community free library, and Sierra Mendes.

In addition to the upcoming Walk-A-Thon, Martin said collection containers for donations have been placed at local businesses for Sierra.

The Holley grad also talked to students about the importance of reading, as the PARP program promotes literacy. She said until she was about 14 years old, she read everyday – all the time.

“The time I have spent reading is what I treasure most,” she said. “If you love to read you will never be bored and you will never be lonely.”

The assembly included games. Kindergarteners, 1st and 2nd graders participated in the “Relay Read” race, while 3rd and 4th graders took part in the “Slide and Read” race, and 5th and 6th graders participated in the “Toss and Read” competition.

Students selected for the annual PARP limo ride to McDonald’s for lunch.  Two students from each grade in grades K-6 will take a ride in limo next Wednesday for lunch at McDonald’s. Two pre-K students were also chosen. They will join principal Karri Schiavone for a special treat at a time to be determined.

The Holley PTSA sponsors the PARP program and this year they provided T-shirts for all students. Art students at Holley High School were asked to submit designs for the shirt.  The design of Andrea Payne, a 12th grader, was chosen.

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