Parents, grandparents and community volunteers left their homes and businesses Friday morning, traveled through the cold, wet weather and arrived at one of seven Waxahachie ISD schools in order to participate as readers in classrooms for grades pre-kindergarten through eighth and to assist in other ways for Waxahachie’s 11th annual DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) Day.

Volunteers gathered in the halls or libraries of the schools prior to being escorted to a classroom by a student from that classroom. In some cases, volunteers chose a particular classroom, wanting to read to the class of their child or grandchild or other special someone or preferring a particular age group. Other readers were simply assigned a classroom.

Once with the students, volunteer readers were asked to read for a period of 15 to 20 minutes.

Reading times were offered twice (8:45 and 10:15 a.m.) and some people volunteered to read at both periods. Those volunteers had the opportunity to meet with two separate classrooms – and, in some cases, at two separate schools.

Such was the case for Ovilla resident Lucille Robbins, who has participated in the event as a volunteer reader for the past five years.

“I have a grandchild here (Dunaway Elementary),” said Robbins, who read at Marvin Elementary earlier that morning in another grandchild’s classroom.

“I do it for the grandchildren and I look forward to it every year,” Robbins said.

“I do, too,” chimed in Robbin’s granddaughter, Dunaway Elementary fourth-grader Laci Lonergan, who had just arrived at the school’s library to escort her grandmother to her classroom.

Waxahachie resident Dave Reid has participated in the event “every year since they started.”

“It’s enjoyable. I like children. I also believe it’s important for the children to know that the adults are interested in them,” Reid said.

“I’ve enjoyed every bit and hope I’m able to keep doing it,” said Waxahachie resident Silvia Eklund of her annual participation as a reader. “This is my ninth year.”

Tricia Centracco is the parent of twin boys who attend second grade at Dunaway Elementary. She works as a parent volunteer at the school, including the jobs of DEAR Day coordinator last year and yearbook chairman last year and this year.

“I think it’s a really wonderful program,” Centracco said of DEAR Day, while snapping photos for possible publication in the school’s yearbook. “I think it’s important that members of the community interact with the school and it gives children different avenues of reading.”

“I think it’s a great opportunity for people in our community to come and meet our kids and see what a good job our school is doing,” said Dunaway Elementary PTO volunteer coordinator Marla Lyle, who helped coordinate DEAR Day this year, as well as the last four school years. She is in her third year of serving as PTO volunteer coordinator.

“It’s nice for kids to know they care and have taken time out of their busy schedules to come,” said Lyle of the volunteers readers.

Waxahachie resident Becky Wilson is a retired teacher who has a granddaughter in first grade at Dunaway Elementary.

“I like to volunteer at school (Dunaway Elementary) in my spare time,” said Wilson, who participates in other events in addition to DEAR Day.

Email Jennifer at jennifer.howell@wninews.com