FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
"LITERACY ONE" TAKES TO THE SKIES ON NOVEMBER 29
Boeing, Cathay Pacific Airways, Room to Read and Scholastic Inc. Deliver Hundreds of Thousands of Books to Children in the Developing World
Pre-flight Ceremony at Future of Flight Museum at Boeing's Paine Field with Literacy One Day Proclamation from Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson
Room to Read Honors Students from Seattle's Lakeside School Who Raised a Record Breaking US$650,000 for Room to Read Programs
Everett, WA – November 29, 2007 – Boeing, Cathay Pacific Airways, Room to Read and Scholastic Inc. came together today for the historic, inaugural flight of Literacy One, carrying hundreds of thousands of children's books donated by Scholastic Inc, aboard a new Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER aircraft to Hong Kong and onward to Room to Read libraries in Asia. The Literacy One Day ceremony and takeoff took place on Thursday, November 29 at 1:00pm at the Future of Flight Museum at Boeing's Paine Field in Everett, Washington.
Room to Read CEO and Founder John Wood, Boeing's Vice President of China and East Asia Sales Robert Laird, Cathay Pacific Airways Chief Operating Officer John Slosar and Scholastic International Manager Carra Gamberdella were on hand to mark the occasion. Honorary guests included Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson, who officially proclaimed Thursday, November 29 to be Literacy One Day by the City of Everett.
Room to Read also honored the extraordinary ambassadorship of twelve students from Lakeside School in Seattle, who earlier this month raised a record-breaking US$650,000 at a fundraising dinner they produced entirely on their own. Also on hand was Scholastic's lovable Clifford the Big Red Dog and supporters of Room to Read's initiatives. Students participating in the Literacy One Challenge, a year-long fundraising campaign in the United States and Hong Kong to raise funds on behalf of their peers in the developing world, were also recognized for their efforts at both take off and landing ceremonies on both sides of the Pacific.
"We are thrilled by the generosity of Boeing, Cathay Pacific Airways and Scholastic to deliver over 400,000 books to our Room to Read libraries in Asia and into the hands of children in the developing world," said John Wood, Founder and CEO of Room to Read.
"I delivered my first load of books to a rural children's school in Nepal on a yak," Wood continues. "Never could I have imagined that seven years later we would be working with these three blue chip companies to fly hundreds of thousands of children's books across the Pacific on a new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. This really is a "sky's the limit" moment for Room to Read as we celebrate our 5000th library opening milestone."
"The historic flight of Literacy One is very exciting for us at Scholastic, because with Room to Read's help we'll be able to put books in the hands of thousands of children whom we might not otherwise have been able to reach," said Carol Sakoian, Vice President of Scholastic International. "We look forward to continuing to build our relationship with Room to Read, and together helping to give children the chance to learn to read."
"Cathay Pacific is proud to be able to operate the Literacy One flight on behalf of Room to Read and Scholastic Inc.," said the airline's Chief Operating Officer John Slosar. "The delivery of our latest Boeing 777-300ER is a very important event for our airline, and we are pleased to make it even more special by carrying this very important cargo that will soon bring the gift of books and knowledge to young people in Asia. Literacy One symbolizes our wholehearted support for the mission of John Wood and the Room to Read programs."
"Boeing is honored to play a role in supporting this truly worthy humanitarian effort," said Rob Laird, vice president, China and East Asia Sales - Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "The company and its employees work in partnership with our customers and concerned organizations to solve global problems that affect us all. Today's event is a fine example of how individuals and corporations working together can make a significant difference."
About Room to Read
Room to Read was founded by John Wood, who left his high-powered career track at Microsoft to start the organization after trekking in Nepal and witnessing the disheartening lack of books in a rural school. John vowed to do something about it, and by the end of this year, Room to Read will have distributed over three million books, built over 425 schools, established over 5,000 libraries, developed over 150 computer and language labs and put over 4,000 girls on long-term scholarships. To date, John's vision has helped over 1.7 million children have access to enhanced educational infrastructure. Room to Read has established operations in Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Zambia. A must-read for business leaders, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, educators, and internationalists alike, John portrays his experience in his award winning book, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, which to date, has been translated into 15 languages.
About the Literacy One Challenge
Throughout the 2007-2008 school year, the Literacy One Challenge invites students in the United States and Asia to make a difference first hand in conquering global illiteracy. With their entrepreneurial spirit and creative fundraising efforts, students throughout the US and Hong Kong are raising funds to help provide books and educational opportunities for their peers in the developing world.
Response is already impressive for the Literacy One Challenge. Fourteen schools are participating in Hong Kong, along with eleven schools in the United States. The American schools include: Brunswick School, (Greenwich, CT); Forest Hill Elementary (Bay Area, CA); Gig Harbor High School (Gig Harbor, WA), Indian Trail School (Chicago, IL); John F. Kennedy Elementary School (Grafton, WI); Loma Linda Elementary School (Longmont, CO); Nathaniel Woodhull Elementary (Long Island, NY); North High School (Torrance, CA); Pyle Middle School (Bethesda, MD); St. Callistus School (Garden Grove, CA) and St. Francis High School (Mountain View, CA).
Funds raised in the Literacy One Challenge will support Room to Read's Local Language Publishing Program, which publishes books by local authors and artists relevant to the children's culture and language in developing countries. These books will include special dedications from students and schools which have raised funds for the books.
The Literacy One Challenge is part of Room to Read's Students Helping Students program encouraging students, teachers and communities to take a stand against global illiteracy and the lack of educational opportunities in the developing world. Through a service-learning model, students learn about geography, language and culture of the countries in which Room to Read works, as well as cultivate leadership skills and entrepreneurial spirit through fundraising campaigns.
The Boeing Company is the world's leading aerospace company, and the largest manufacturer of satellites, commercial jetliners and military aircraft. The company is also a global market leader in missile defense, human space flight and launch services. Boeing is one the largest U.S. exporters by sales, with customers in approximately 90 countries. Total company revenues for 2006 were US$61.5 billion. The company employs a diverse and innovative team of more than 159,000 people in 49 states and more than 70 countries. In 2006, Boeing contributed US$51.6 million to charitable organizations both in the U.S. and around the world. Boeing's International Relief Flight Program began in 1992. Since then, the company has delivered nearly two million pounds of humanitarian goods throughout the world. Supplies include: children's books, text books and medical supplies, plus equipment, computers, clothing and various school supplies. Boeing has partnered with more than 25 non-profit agencies and 50 airline customers to help more then 50 countries on five continents.
About Cathay Pacific Airways
Cathay Pacific Airways is a Hong Kong-based airline offering scheduled passenger and cargo services to 106 destinations in Asia, North America, Australia, Europe and Africa, using a fleet of 110 wide-body aircraft. The company is a member of the Swire Group and is a public company listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Dragonair is wholly owned subsidiary and Cathay Pacific also has a 60% stake in AHK Air Hong Kong Ltd, an all-cargo carrier operating regional express freight services. Cathay Pacific has made substantial investments to develop Hong Kong as one of the world's leading global transportation hubs. The airline is a founder member of the oneworld global alliance.
Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL) is the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books and a leader in educational technology. Scholastic creates quality educational and entertaining materials and products for use in school and at home, including children's books, magazines, technology-based products, teacher materials, television programming, film, videos and toys. The Company distributes its products and services through a variety of channels, including proprietary school-based book clubs, school-based book fairs, and school-based and direct-to-home continuity programs; retail stores, schools, libraries and television networks; and the Company's Internet site, scholastic.com.
For more information on Literacy One Day and Room to Read, please visit www.roomtoread.org.
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