Recently, the world lost one of its best and most renowned actors, Sean Connery. In an interview, he was once asked about his first big break. Connery replied, “My first big break came when I was 5 years old. It’s taken me more than 70 years to realize that. You see, at 5, I first learned to read. It’s that simple and it’s that profound.”

Now, we have the opportunity to give the children of Derry Area that same first big break! The Derry Area School District Foundation is pleased and excited to bring a wonderful and unique opportunity to the children of Derry Area School District. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is here! 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 15626.

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 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 Barbie Jones at 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. Thank you!

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Derry Area School District 21st Century Community Learning Center Program Director Debbie Gray would like to share that the after-school program (aft3r@dasd) will be offered virtually throughout the month of November. Elementary students can join in on the fun at 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 4 to 5 p.m. Friday on days when school is in session. Secondary students are invited to attend from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday. 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 A follow-up email will be sent upon registration.

For more information? Email Debbie at

Sign up today!

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Hillside United Methodist Church will be having book sale from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 14. Please enter the basement rear entrance only. Masks are mandatory.

Come stock up on reading material for the winter months.

In addition, baked goods will be available to purchase for takeout only. If you have any questions, you may call 724-694-5446.

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Just a reminder that the Derry Area School District will resume five days per week of in-person learning for elementary students and hybrid instruction for middle and high school students starting Monday, Nov. 16.

At the last school board meeting, school superintendent Eric Curry mentioned that while the district is moving forward with five days of in-person instruction for elementary students, families may decide to continue with hybrid learning or the fully online iTrojan program.

Regardless, let’s hope that this is the beginning to getting all of our students back to school full-time and to retuning to normalcy once and for all!

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Because of inclement weather, the dedication for the memorial flag pole project that was previously scheduled on Veterans Day has been rescheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, at the Derry Borough public works grounds.

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Derry Borough Council will hold its work sessions and regular monthly meetings for the remainder of 2020 at 7 p.m. Tuesdays at A.V. Germano Hall, located at 100 W. Second St., Derry Borough.

A work session is scheduled for Dec. 1. Regular monthly meetings are set for Nov. 17 and Dec. 8.

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Derry Borough will continue to pick up bagged leaves weekly on Mondays through Thursdays until Thursday, Dec. 3.

The public works department asks kindly for our residents to please put the bags in the front of your property for pick up. Please be mindful of separating from your refuse. Thank you.

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Last but not least, Congratulations to Frank Orzehowski, a sixth-grade student at the Derry Area Middle School! Frank received a recognition plaque from the Westmoreland County Firemen’s Association for winning first place in the poster contest during the 2019-20 school year. During Frank’s fifth-grade year in Grandview Elementary School, his poster was selected first out of several hundred students from 16 Westmoreland County school districts. Recently, he received a recognition plaque certificate from state Sen. Kim Ward’s office and a $150 Walmart gift card for his excellent effort.

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Have a great weekend and let’s go Steelers!

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Derry Diary items may be emailed to

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