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Circus clowns perform, promote reading for Caloosa Elementary

By Staff | Dec 16, 2008

Early Tuesday morning students at Caloosa Elementary clowned around during two separate events that promoted reading.
Students were visited by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s “Ambassadors of Laughter,” while simultaneously next to the school’s office they picked up free books from Cape Coral’s Rotary Club.
Clowns Dave and Cherie Gregg visited schools across Lee County this week to promote Ringling’s upcoming performance at Germain Arena.
The two read Dr. Seuss’ “If I Ran the Circus,” put on a circus performance in the cafeteria and handed out discounted tickets and clown noses to 500 students.
On Monday the two ambassadors visited J. Colin English Elementary, and Tuesday they visited Caloosa Elementary and Hector A. Cafferata Elementary in Cape Coral. Both stressed that the children should spend their holiday vacations reading.
“Anything we can do to promote reading we bring into the school,” said Principal Cheryl Curry.
After reading the Dr. Seuss story, the clowns put on a show that featured juggling, plate balancing and hilarious antics while the children cheered and laughed at the nearly two-hour performance. Some were asked to come on stage during the miniature performance.
The school was also hosting Reading is Fundamental or RIF, a program sponsored by the Cape Coral Rotary Club. Outside the front office there were tables set up with hundreds of books that the children could take for free.
“These are brand new from Scholastic,” said Esta Rubinstein, chairman of the RIF program for the last five years. “For some it’s the only book they have that is theirs and that they can take home and read to the family.”
Ron Melvin, president of the Rotary Club Cape Coral North, also participated in the RIF program.
He said that besides organizing RIF, the club has been raising funds for The Salvation Army of Lee County and the Cape Caring Center.
“These kids can come in and get a free book they can read for fun,” he said. “One teacher said her class was so excited.”
Students at Caloosa were eagerly searching through the piles of new books Tuesday morning. They were seeking out those books that fit their tastes and personal preferences.
RIF is held each year and many of the students leave elementary school with 18 free books from the local Rotary Club.
“I think RIF is the funest way to get free books and know what books are like,” said Shanely, a student at Caloosa.
Another student at the school, Alex, said he had the chance to choose his own book instead of always reading those mandated by the school district.
“You get to pick out your own book,” he said. “I think it is fun.”
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s “The Greatest Show On Earth” will run from Jan. 15-19 at Germain Arena in Estero. Tickets range from $16 to $25 and are available at: www.ringling.com or by calling the Germain Arena box office at 334-3309.
The Cape Coral Rotary Club meets Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. at the Cosmopolitan Grill, 3522 Del Prado Blvd. S. It is always looking for new members and guest speakers, said Melvin.