Two students of Berks Career & Technology Center West in Leesport won the chance to compete in a national competition for their efforts in helping young children become more comfortable and confident with language by reading to therapy dogs.
Hamburg Area High School senior Erika Hess paired with Conrad Weiser High School senior Paris Reppert in a Family, Career & Community Leaders of America state-level competition, attending the event in late March.
The duo will compete at nationals in Orlando, Fla., this July.
Their preparation involved about 50 hours, including hosting what they called a “pawsitive” experience day at the Spring Township Library back on Feb. 11.
The concept they used that day was R.E.A.D., which stands for Reading Educational Assistant Dogs, and serves as a program to help encourage children to have more self-esteem in learning to read.
About 20 kids ranging from ages two to 12 attended and were invited to share time reading chapter and picture books to certified therapy and R.E.A.D. dogs—the 6-year-old chocolate Labrador Mocha and the 4-year-old mixed breed Clara.