Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association celebrates Dr. Seuss at Bushwick elementary school

March 7, 2017 By Rob Abruzzese, Legal Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Judge Joanne Quinones has a blast reading to the kids. Eagle photos by Rob Abruzzese
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Justice Joanne D. Quinones and members of the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association (BWBA) went to P.S. 274 in Bushwick on Monday to take part in Read Across America with a group of 75 first-graders and kindergarteners.

This was the 20th year for Read Across America and the fourth year that the BWBA participated in the event. Every year the group goes to P.S. 274, Quinones’ former elementary school, and reads to first-graders. This year the program was expanded as the BWBA group was larger than ever and 75 students participated.

“It has become a big event at the school,” Quinones said. “It’s something that even the kindergarteners know about and a lot of them look forward to getting to first grade because they know that they will be a part of this event.”

Each year, Quinones spearheads the event, which is also a celebration of children’s author Theodore Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss. The judge and the members of the BWBA dress up as various characters from his books and read to groups of students. Afterward, they hand out goodie bags and cake.

Quinones said that the organization for the event starts in September and isn’t easy, but that finding the motivation for it is because she thinks back to some of the teachers she had who influenced her life and career.

“I remember one teacher I had, Mr. Roth. He taught a history program that I got accepted into and he used to drive me and three other students every week from Bushwick to Upper Manhattan. He didn’t get paid to do it, but he never complained or asked for anything to do it. He never even so much as asked for $5 for gas.

“When you look back, you realize that little things like that have a profound impact on your life,” Quinones continued. “If he wouldn’t have driven me, I wouldn’t have gone. My parents worked and I wasn’t old enough to take the train that far. It has a ripple effect on your entire education and there is a chance that I wouldn’t have become a judge without him doing that.”

That’s why Quinones jumped at the opportunity to organize this event when given the chance four years ago — she wanted to do something that would impact the kids, even if it was in a small way.

“It’s a fun way to give back to the community, to bring lawyers and judges into the community and to expose the kids at a young age to judges and lawyers,” Quinones said. “My kids wear the little hats — in the book, he tips his hat and I have them all act it out. When Thing 1 and Thing 2 jump out of the box and shake hands, I practice shaking hands with them. I use it all as a little learning tool.”

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