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Press release

March 2, 2001

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March, 2001 | Supporting Education

Senator Richard Polanco Presents Ms. Cecil Castelucci With California Lottery's "Hero in Education" Award


SACRAMENTO - Senator Richard Polanco will present Ms. Cecil Castelucci with the California Lottery's "Hero In Education" award on the "Big Spin® 2000" show that airs Saturday, March 3, 2001.

Senator Polanco was elected to the California State Senate in 1994 where he now serves as Senate Majority Leader representing the Twenty Second District. Senator Polanco has authored essential legislation that helped fuel California's economic recovery and has been a leader in education, healthcare, children's issues, prison reform, water resources, transportation and technology.

The Senator nominated Ms. Castelucci for the "Hero in Education" award for her volunteer efforts with the Museum of Radio and Television and with Public School Arts Education and for her focus on making the community and the world around her "a better place." Castelucci wanted to help kids learn more about the arts but wanted to take her efforts into the classroom where she knew she could really make a difference. She was specifically interested in finding a literacy program. Her search began and before long Castelucci signed up with the "Reading by 9" (Rby9) program.

This program is a five-county partnership involving business, education, government, media and civic organizations dedicated to ensuring that children learn to read at grade level by age nine. The program is entirely funded through corporate contributions launched by the Los Angeles Times.

Ms. Castelucci volunteers in two different classrooms each Thursday. In a first-grade classroom she reads aloud to the students to involve them in discussions. In a second-grade classroom she incorporates art projects into the stories. All of the activities are based on the story concepts and what the children are learning in the classroom. Now she has set a new lifelong goal to combine Literacy and Arts Education in her future volunteer pursuits because "that's the magic in storytelling."

"Children benefit from having an adult that is not a parent or teacher talking about literacy ideas and concepts they are already learning", states Castelucci. "The Reading By 9 program gives children a chance to show what they are reading and learning about and that gives them a lot of confidence to continue with reading on their own."

California Lottery's "Heroes in Education" Program recognizes outstanding volunteers in the community. Through their dedication and efforts, California's students receive enrichment opportunities that may not have been available without these volunteers. The "Heroes in Education" Program exemplifies that support for California's schools comes in many different and innovative ways. Since 1985, the Lottery has raised more than $12 billion for public schools.

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See More Press Releases: March, 2001 | Supporting Education |