Reading is important in our house. We have many, many books; some of our bookshelves have books stacked two rows deep and it is difficult to see the books in the second row. We make our sons read every day, if possible.
Each year, the Chief Minister of the ACT holds a reading challenge where children are asked to read as many books as they can from the Chief Minister’s list. Clea undertook the challenge once and managed to read the prescribed number of books. I received her certificate after she had died.
Amaroo School decided that because Clea loved to read and to remember her, they would present awards each year to those students who did well in the Chief Minister’s Reading Challenge and these awards would be called the Clea Salavert Wykes Reading Awards.
So, about a week ago for the third year, Jorge and I attended a whole school assembly and six students were presented with their awards and presents (a new book). Jorge usually speaks at these assemblies but it was my turn this year.
I find it very difficult to speak about Clea in such a public setting. There are more than 1,600 students at the school and almost all of them are seated in the gym for the whole school assemblies; that’s a lot of students. There are many new students and new teachers and I wanted them to know who Clea was and why these awards are presented in her name.
I have had to talk at assembly a number of times mostly to do with the Clea Salavert Library at Lalomanu Primary School in Samoa. I always start with: Good morning. My name is Trudie Wykes and I am Clea’s mother. Then I falter and stumble through the rest of my speech, which I always prepare because I know that the moment I say who I am that I will be unable to continue without notes.
I hope the award winners know how lucky they are to be able to read so many books and to lose themselves in fiction. My daughter would love to read more books.