The Literacy Council of Upper Pinellas’s 5th Annual Student Essay Content is underway. The deadline is August 31, 2014. Winners will be announced and essays shared at the Volunteer Celebration Event scheduled for September 27, 2014 at Honeymoon Island State Park.
Theme: How Literacy Has Changed My Life
Essays: One entry per student of not more than 500 words
Prizes: 1st $100 2nd $50 3rd $ 25
Assistance: Tutors may assist students with grammar and punctuation.
Submission: Please submit essays and the Essay Contest Application 2014 form electronically to email@example.com. You may use library computers for this.
Judging: A panel of three judges will determine winning essays.
Questions? Contact Susanne Carter at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gary Richey is LCUP’s newest board member. He wears many hats for our organization—tutor, conservation specialist, technology expert, and child care provider.
A lifelong resident of Pinellas County, Gary likes to read, write, compute, walk, bike, watch horror films, and collect horror movie memorabilia when he’s not helping with LCUP activities. Gary is also a cancer survivor who says that he never realized how much volunteering for the Literacy Council “would change my life.”
LCUP Tutor Doug Eadie had been tutoring Taiwanese students Ty and Fiona for several months before they had to return to their home country. Rather than ending their tutoring sessions, they decided to continue their sessions via Skype.
Skype (www.skype.com) is a free software application that allows computer users to have spoken conversations with over the Internet. All that is needed is a webcam and a computer or mobile device with a microphone and speakers or a headset attached.
Although Doug admits he was a bit skeptical about the long-distance approach, he says it’s been very successful, largely due to Ty and Fiona’s enthusiasm and diligent preparation.
Each week Ty and Fiona send Doug topics they want to discuss, often accompanied by links to news clips. Although the tutoring schedule is less than optimal (because of the 13-hour time difference, Doug has to arise early for 7 AM sessions that are at 8 PM for Ty and Fiona), the technology is easy to use.
Naturally, said Doug, “it’s less intimate than physically being in the same room together,” but it’s also exciting “to be able to see each other in our homes each week,” even though Ty and Fiona live more than 8,000 miles from Doug’s home in Oldsmar.
TY and Fiona anticipate returning to the Tampa Bay within the next few months, said Doug, so he expects they will be able to continue their tutoring sessions in a more conventional way. In the meantime he is very pleased that they’ve been able to stay connected and continue to make progress in English language learning without losing precious time.