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."