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Garden Grove : School’s Top Readers Set to Reap Rewards

Democratic National Convention notes autographed by 1984 vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro, an umbrella from TV weatherman George Fischbeck and autographed photographs of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, actor Paul Newman and Sen. Edward M. (Ted) Kennedy (D-Mass.) are among almost 300 items to be “auctioned” today as a way to reward voracious readers at Pacifica High School.

The auction and reading program are the brainchild of Pacifica English teacher Sara Hess. Called Project WORTH--Working on Reading: Tomorrow’s Habit--the program is designed to encourage reading and reward extra-curricular work with bidding points and chances for prizes.

To be eligible, students were required to read and give oral reports on at least four books. They received one point for every 100 pages read, with additional credits for a book’s reading difficulty, classic status or relevance to classroom programs.

The 130 students expected to participate earned an average 50 points, Hess said, with several banking more than 200. The students have read more than 3,000 novels, plays and biographies, an average of 23, she said.

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Last year, Hess held a smaller, experimental auction for her own students. “The response was just enormous,” Hess said. “It went so well the first time, it was felt that the entire school would profit by the experience this year.

“There are many successful people out there who think reading is important, and we are gratified they agree we have a responsibility to our students.”

Hess has received many personal letters of encouragement from celebrities. Entertainers Carole King and Dan Akroyd, for example, wrote that reading was instrumental in their success.

Other items to be auctioned include pens from Vice President George Bush and former President Gerald Ford, original cartoons of Los Angeles Times political cartoonist Paul Conrad, a $1 bill signed by former Treasury Secretary Donald Regan, a football signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers, a book authored by Times columnist Richard Buffum, a shredded cube of currency from Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker and a packet of worn baseball cards from former Boston Red Sox slugger Ted Williams.

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School Principal Tom Holler will act as auctioneer for the 3 p.m. event at the campus lyceum.


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