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MOORPARK : Their Enthusiasm Is One for the Books

Moorpark businessman Darrel Sneed doesn’t look like he could be intimidated by a bunch of 7-year-olds. But the 51-year-old insurance agent said he is.

“I don’t understand their enthusiasm,” said Sneed, who explained that he is overwhelmed by the reaction when he reads aloud to the 31 second-grade students in Peggy Weak’s class at Peach Hill Elementary School.

Since October, Sneed and 24 other members of the Moorpark Rotary Club have each adopted a class at the school, which has children in kindergarten through third grade. In an effort to encourage students to read, the Rotarians visit their adopted classes at least once a month to talk about their favorite books, to read aloud to the students and to listen while students read to the class.

Sneed said he was baffled when the children jumped up and down and called his name during two recent visits to Weak’s class. But the children said the reasons for their enthusiasm were simple.

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“He brought us cupcakes and books,” Melissa French said.

“He’s a really nice person,” said Anthony Aglio.

“He’s a dad,” Bruce Monarrez said.

Just having a busy adult from the outside world take time to visit the children makes them feel important, Weak said.

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“You know, Mr. Sneed doesn’t see anybody but them,” she said. “He’s their guy.”

Rotary Club President Rick Brecunier said he and his wife, Linnea, who is a reading specialist at Peach Hill, came up with the idea for the reading program. The program fits the international service club’s 1991-92 goal to contribute to literacy around the world, Brecunier said.

Brecunier said he hopes the 45-member club can expand the program to other Moorpark elementary schools and continue it beyond this school year.


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