Looking for a unique and special gift for the person that is so difficult to buy for? We have a great gift idea for you! Give them the gift that continues giving, to children!

A unique opportunity to enrich the lives of the youngest amongst us with the gift of learning is Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, now available to the children of Derry Area School District! This program, established in 1995, provides quality, age appropriate books once a month to children from birth until their fifth birthday. The books are selected by a committee of education and child development experts. The books are free to the children and mailed directly to them each month.

Thanks to grants from Latrobe Elks Lodge No. 907 and the Derry Area School District Foundation, we are able to register our first group of recipients. However, our goal is not to register some of our children. Our goal is to register every eligible child in Derry Area for this program.

We’re hoping to fund a large number of our recipients through sponsorships. It costs just $25 to sponsor a child for a full year of membership in the Imagination Library. That’s less than $2.10 a month for a child to have a high-quality book mailed directly to his or her home! Anyone wishing to give the gift of books can send their donation to: Derry Area School District Foundation, Attn. Brenda Bitz, 982, North Chestnut Street Ext., Derry, PA 15627.

Please memo your check “Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library” or “DPIL”. Also, please include your email address so you can receive updates on the books that children receive each month and other facts about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, early literacy and events for Derry Area’s Pre-K population. For questions concerning donations, please contact David McCleary at dmccleary@dasd.us or call 724-694-2780, ext. 3312.

This is a unique and special way to impact the lives of our very youngest Trojans and help them improve their quality of life and chances for success in school and beyond. We hope everyone will find it in their hearts to give the gift of books to the youngest children of Derry Area.

If anyone has any questions concerning registration, please contact Mrs. Barbie Jones at bjones@dasd.us or call 724-694-1400, ext 1377. Please also watch for information and articles on the project in the Derry Diary and on social media. May you and yours have a blessed and happy holiday season!

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Derry Area High School Director of Media Services Tracey Smeltzer writes in to the Diary:

“2020 has certainly been an interesting year. We have had to make so many changes and adjustments to our daily lives. While things may be different and may not look the same as they have in years past, I am pleased to say that the Derry Area Education Association will team with the Diner’s Club, St. Martin’s and Derry United Methodist Church to sponsor the Christmas Dinner Box Project.

“Many of you have already reached out to ask if we will be providing Christmas Dinner Boxes to families in our community this year, and we have already begun to see donations coming in! Sadly, due to COVID-19 the KIND Closet open house will not be taking place. Many of you have been asking about that program as well, we hope to be able to bring it back when things return to normal.

“We once again hope to provide food for 130 to 140 families in the Derry Area with Christmas Dinner Boxes. $50 helps provide items such as a ham, potatoes, eggs, milk and other staples to families to help them through the Christmas break. We know this year, more than ever, many families are struggling, and this program can help alleviate some of the burden. If you would like to donate, please do! Checks can be made out to Derry Area High School with Diner’s Club on the memo line. Please mail to: The Diner’s Club ℅ Tracey Smeltzer Derry Area High School, 988 N. Chestnut St. Ext., Derry PA 15627.

“Thank you and Merry Christmas. Have a safe and healthy remainder of 2020 and the new year!”

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Derry Area School District 21st CCLC Program Director Debbie Gray would like to share that the after-school program (aft3r@dasd) will be offered virtually throughout the month of December. Elementary students can join in on the fun from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 4 to 5 p.m. Friday the days school are in session. Secondary students are invited to attend from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The program is free to students in the Derry Area School District K-12. A variety of STE(A)M activities are planned daily.

To register, go to cclc.dasd.us. A follow-up email will be sent upon registration. Need more information? Email Debbie at dgray@dasd.us Sign up today!

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The Derry Volunteer Fire Department (Station 41) is excited to announce that Santa will be arriving in Derry at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19, for its annual Santa run on one the department’s fire trucks. The department looks forward to seeing you all smile from year to year and wishes everyone a very safe and Merry Christmas.

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In addition, the Bradenville Fire Department has announced that on Dec. 18-19, Santa Claus will be making his way through the Derry Township. He wants all the little boys and girls to know, as much as he wants to see everyone, there isn’t enough time to do so. He’s asking everyone who lives in more secluded areas to come to the main roads during that time. Please stay tuned to a future column for more details on Santa’s route during the two-day event.

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The Derry Borough K-9 Unit is sponsoring a Coloring Contest for children ages 12 and under.

You may participate in the even by visiting the Facebook page and printing the page, or by messaging your email address. Coloring pages were handed out at a drive-thru event at Mossback Park on Dec. 9.

The first 50 people who attend the drive-thru event received crayons and candy canes. Coloring contest pages must be received by 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec 23, at the drop-off box at the Derry Borough police station.

Eligible children will have the chance to win K-9 hoodies and gift cards. Entries will be judged in three age groups with tip prizes for each. Entries will be posted upon receipt and the winners will be announced by Wednesday, Dec. 23.

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Derry Township Tax Collector Debby Zello writes in to remind taxpayers with an important announcement:

“I hope everyone is doing what they can to stay healthy and safe during this COVID-19 pandemic. Just want to keep everyone updated on wants going on for real estate and per capita tax updates. First, the penalty period for your spring, county/township real estate taxes, has been waived and the face amount is due by Dec. 31. Secondly, there have been no due date changes to your fall, school real estate taxes, face amount is until Nov. 30, and penalty until Dec. 31.

“Next, our office is currently open for in-person payments when you follow the guidelines posted on the administration building doors. Masks are required. Should the office close again due the COVID-19 pandemic, please mail your payments to: 978 N. Chestnut St. Ext., Derry, PA 15627. If a receipt is required. include the entire statement and a self-addressed stamped envelope. I would suggest to call the office (at) 724-694-5115 for any office hour updates before coming to make a payment. As long as the administration building remains open, there is a red locked box outside of the tax office for real estate and per capita payments. Payments need to be in a sealed envelope when placing them in the box. If you would like a receipt, please include a self-addressed stamped envelope ... You need to make sure it is postmarked by Nov. 30 by the USPS to avoid the penalty charge.”

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Kudos to Tory Smith and Jacob McBroom, fourth-grade students at Grandview Elementary School, who took first place in the annual WCGC (Westmoreland County Gifted Consortium) Invention Convention, which was held (virtually this year) on Dec. 3.

The boys designed and built a solar powered convertible bench/table that also has the capability to power digital devices. Their problem-solving idea and marketing strategies are aimed at providing parks and public places with adaptable, sustainable spaces for recreation, family and “work from the great outdoors” opportunities.

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Have a great weekend and let’s go Steelers!

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Derry Diary items may be emailed to liberoni@aol.com.

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