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Young poets shine at library

They hadn't practiced since the end of last school year, nor had they practiced all together.

But that doesn't mean the kids reciting poetry at Skaneateles Library didn't know their stuff. The event on Thursday Aug. 20, in which the group of children recited poetry mostly from memory, was part of the library's summer reading program and encouraged then to "Be Creative."

All former students of Janet Fagal, a Skaneateles elementary school teacher, the poets now are going to be starting fourth, fifth and seventh grades this fall.

With a prompt, "Ready ... begin," the kids first said the name of the poem they were going to recite and the author's name -- William Butler Yeats, Langston Hughes, Edna St. Vincent Millay and William Wordsworth.

They performed for parents, siblings, library staff and special guest Sen. John DeFrancisco.

"It's just amazing that you can learn these poems," DeFrancisco said. "It's extremely impressive what you're doing. ... The arts are so important."

Praising the children for their talents, he told them he hopes those who have been writing their own poetry continue to do so.

"You can do anything you want to do if you work hard at it," he told the children when they took a short break from reciting.

DeFrancisco then found his way to one of the "poet's" chairs set up near the stage and read three poems to the children -- "Nobody," "Listen To The Mustn'ts" and "The Dentist and the Crocodile" by Shel Silverstein.

Once finished, the students ended the program by reciting the last names of all United States presidents and the grand finale -- "The Gettysburg Address," which was said without one mistake.

"The most important thing to do in addition to your school work is to read and after that to read some more," DeFrancisco said before the kids left the stage, adding that through independent reading each one of them may find a new interest they may not have found by reading just what the teacher assigns. "I was on vacation last week and read three books. The reason I read three books is because I don't know what I want to be when I grown up either."

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