Schodack Central School District

1477 South Schodack Road, Castleton-on-Hudson, New York 12033
T: (518) 732-2297 • F: (518) 732-7710
Jason Chevrier, Superintendent

CES Welcomes Newbery Medal Award Winning Author


Castleton Elementary School gave an ear-splitting welcome to author/poet Kwame Alexander today, screaming and high-fiving the Newbery Medal winner as he arrived for his day at the school.


The entire school was beyond excited for Mr. Alexander’s visit, which grew out of a bond the author made with fifth graders who Skyped with him twice during the school year.


“When I came in and saw everyone screaming, that was the best thing that has ever happened,” said Mr. Alexander. “It was better than winning the Newbery.”


Mr. Alexander spent the day in classrooms, assemblies and eating lunch with students.


During an assembly, Mr. Alexander told a story of how it took him five years to publish his award-winning book “The Crossover”. He recalled how he was rejected 20 times and told repeatedly his book wasn’t good.


“They didn’t think that kids would like poetry. They didn’t think that girls would like a book about basketball,” Mr. Alexander said. “What is the lesson?”


“Don’t give up,” said one student.


“Follow your dreams,” said another student.


Principal Jason Chevrier credited Library Media Specialist Stacey Rattner for helping to bring Mr. Alexander to the school and getting students so excited about reading.


“To have the Newbery Award winning author is like having the Super Bowl winning team here. It doesn’t get any bigger than Kwame and he’s such a great guy and so good with the students,” said Mr. Chevrier. “For our students to meet the person who put the words to the page it shows them that they can do anything if they put their mind to it.”