Lyndonville high schoolers join community reading effort

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 February 2016 at 12:00 am

3 students win essay contest about ‘Black River’

Provided photos – Three Lyndonville High School seniors – Jenna Doran, Jasmine Plummer and Amanda Blackburn – read “Black River” and were picked as essay contest winners, earning a chance to have lunch with author S. M. Hulse of Spokane, Wa. Hulse will visit Lyndonville on March 11 as part of a three-day stint in the area for “A Tale for Three Counties.”

LYNDONVILLE – The three-county reading effort “A Tale for Three Counties” continues to grow each year from its initial effort that was focused among libraries in Orleans, Genesee and Wyoming counties.

The effort in recent years has expanded to Genesee Community College, with students reading and discussing the book, and the college planning lectures to address themes in the novel.

The 14th annual event for the first time includes a local high school reading the book and discussing it in classes. Lyndonville High School is using the book Grade 11 Pre-Advanced Placement English, Grade 12 AP English, and Grade 12 English.

About 45 Lyndonville students read the book and discussed the writing style, character development and themes in their classes. The students also entered an essay contest through “Tale” and three students – Jenna Doran, Jasmine Plummer and Amanda Blackburn – were picked as contest winners, a prize that includes lunch with the author.

S. M. Hulse of Spokane, Wa., author of “Black River,” will visit the three counties March 10-12. She also will be at Lyndonville to meet with students on March 11.

Lyndonville’s 11th grade pre-AP class discusses Black River during a recent class.

“We wanted to promote reading in general and connect to a larger community project,” said Jason Smith, superintendent of Lyndonvlle Central School.

He has read many of the 14 books through “Tale” and participates in the book discussion at Yates Community Library. He also was asked to read a couple books under consideration for “Tale” this year.

Smith likes how the “Tale” books are set in small towns, and include up-and-coming authors who visit the area.

“It’s an authentic learning experience where you can interact with the author,” he said. “The books are rich with dialogue, setting, themes and memorable characters.”

Black River includes some mature themes, but they weren’t too challenging for Lyndonville students, Smith said.

The story centers on Wes Carver, a retired corrections officer who is coping with the loss of his wife to cancer. Carver also returns to the Black River community for the parole hearing of an inmate who tortured Carver during a prison riot two decades earlier. That inmate badly broke Carver’s fingers, preventing him from playing the fiddle, one of his passions.

The novel explores faith, forgiveness, fatherhood and revenge.

For more on A Tale for Three Counties, click here.