Brewster Middle School celebrated Read Across America with games, book giveaways and a guest speaker, March 5.

The school, which received a grant from the National Education Association and Federal Education Association, centered the day on promoting literacy and keeping kids on the right path when it comes to education. The grant helped provide food as well as over $900 in book fair money for students.

The day’s guest speaker was Dr. Erlinda Dobson who addressed students on the importance of their education. Dobson spent 10 years in Jacksonville as part of the ministry. Prior to that, she faced her obstacles due to what she saw as a lack of education and motivation.

“I dropped out of school in the tenth grade,” Dobson said. “I went to an all-black school and all of our books were brought in used... I did not want to read hand-me-down books so I dropped out. I thought I was grown.”

Dobson would end up going back to school and found education later in life. She believes that, for middle school students in particular, programs like Read Across America can help with motivation.

“Normally these middle grades are where you can lose kids,” Dobson said. “They are at a level where they are listening to peers rather than authority. They are finding themselves. … If they pick up a negative influence, they are not building knowledge. I want kids to keep learning, reading and studying.”