Love of writing turns to a gift to SMART reading

Dr. Sherene Suchy (AASW, ICOM), formerly of Hood River and now of Canberra, Australia, writes, “I graduated from Wy’east High School in 1970. As a junior and senior at Wy’east, I wrote for the school newspaper and had a weekly column in the Hood River News as publicity officer for the school. Writing became a passion … more on that later…


SELECTIONS from Dr. Sherene Suchy’s donation of her childhood books to the SMART Sip fundraiser on Feb. 22.

“My parents (Lorene and Herschel Johnson) lived out their lives in beautiful Hood River. It was and always will be ‘home’ in my heart. When my father passed in 2003, I repatriated to Oregon for two years as co-executor for the family estate. During that time, I volunteered for SMART (Start Making a Reader Today) at Mid Valley Elementary School in Odell.

“It was such a pleasure helping little ones discover the delights of reading and witness their self-esteem blossom. That experience laid the foundation for a longer-term relationship with SMART in Oregon. Over the years, royalties from a book published in the U.S.A. have been donated to SMART as an investment in the future. Every writer needs literate readers.

“This past weekend was a sentimental review of my yearbooks from Wy’east High School (1967-1970), including updates sent for class reunions held in 1980, 1995, 2010. I’d like to share the update from 2010:

“Hard to believe it’s four decades since we graduated as the Class of ’70 — Raiders Rule from Wy’east High School. Our time in high school laid foundation stones for those four decades. One stone is engraved with the word, Journalism. Classes in journalism at Wy’east, acting as co-editor on the school newspaper, and a role as publicity officer writing for the Hood River News, taught me to focus on the right questions to create useful stories: who, what, when, where, and why. Nestled next to Journalism is a stone engraved with the word, Typing. Keyboard skills morphed into iMac computers, electronic files, and websites. Those two skills have been used for the last four decades to complete four degrees and to create research papers, essays, reports, journal articles, conference papers, submissions, proposals, workshops, lectures, books, and letters to stay in touch with Oregon. There is one rather large foundation stone underneath all of the others engraved, Friendship. What a blessing to have close friends from the Class of ’70 to share memories and history. For the record, immigrated to Australia in 1974 to live in Canberra, then Melbourne, Malaysia, Sydney, Singapore, Sydney, Portland, Sydney, and — lo, back to Canberra.

“One final news item for a story on the SMART event: donated my first readers (baby books) and some of my father’s books to be sold at the event. My way of being in Hood River for SMART!”

SMART Sip happens Feb. 22 from 6-8 p.m. at Hood River Hotel. Admission is $20. A total of 15 local restaurants and other purveyors will provide samples of local food and fresh fruit, as well as wine, beer, cider, and kombucha in what will be a culinary mixer event, with a short program asking for support for SMART’s literacy service to local schoolkids. As with the Tongue Twister Tournament events of the past seven years (which SMART Sip is replacing), attendees can enjoy music (by James Lawrence) a silent “Chance” auction featuring Suchy’s donated books, and purchase book packets for SMART programs to give to participating readers.

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