Reading PorchFest and Reading Fall Street Faire Announce Student Keynote Speakers for 9/11 Commemoration Event

Reading, MA — This September will mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States. The community is invited to join together on the Reading Common on Saturday, September 11 beginning at 11:00 AM to remember and honor the victims.

As part of this event, the Reading PorchFest and Reading Fall Street Faire Committee jointly sponsored a student writing contest on the theme “Light in the Darkness.” We are delighted to announce that the judging panel has selected three student writers to be the keynote speakers at this event. Thank you to the following judges for volunteering their time to support this event:

  • Ginny Blodgett, local writer
  • Michael Bonsey, Reading Rotary
  • Mark Dockser, Reading Select Board
  • Amanda Foulds, Reading PorchFest Committee
  • Nina Pennacchio, Library Board of Trustees
  • Dr. Thomas Milaschewski, Superintendent of Reading Public Schools
  • Liz Whitelam, Owner Whitelam Books
  • Tom Wise, Reading School Committee

Student Keynote Speakers Announced

Adeline (Addy) Hillery

Eight-year-old Adeline (Addy) Hillery will read her poem “Hope.” The judges admired the beautiful imagery in this poem. Addy enjoys reading, writing, horseback riding, and animals. Addy’s current career plans include someday writing a children’s book that her twin sister will illustrate. Addy lives with her parents, twin sister Nola, older brother Sam, a dog (Fox) and two cats (Bandit and Ricky). She will be entering the third grade at Barrows Elementary School this fall.

Clara Healy

Thirteen-year-old Clara Healy, will be sharing her essay “A Sky Full of Stars” at the 9/11 Commemoration Event. Judges called her essay “thoughtful” and “inspiring.” Clara will be entering eighth grade at Parker Middle School this fall, and enjoys writing, reading and math. She shares an interest in geography with her Dad and social justice with her mom. Clara stays active by running and playing tennis, soccer, and basketball. In her spare time, she likes to whip up new recipes in the kitchen. She enjoys spending time with her dog (Maddy) and her brothers Curran and Owen. 

Abigail LeBovidge

The final student speaker will be sixteen-year-old Abigail LeBovidge, who will share “Three Hundred Million Candles.” Judges praised how this poem explores the parallels between 9/11 and the current COVID-19 pandemic. Abigail will be entering her junior year at Reading Memorial High School this fall, where she is a member of the RMHS Science Team, the New Currency literary and arts magazine, and the RMHS Singers. In her spare time, Abigail enjoys drawing, reading, and writing. She lives with her parents and brother Ethan.

The 9/11 Commemoration is scheduled for Saturday, September 11. A musical prelude by the Reading Community Concert Band will begin at 11:00, and the formal commemoration is scheduled from 11:30 AM to noon. The event will be officiated by Town Moderator and Reading PorchFest organizer Alan Foulds. In addition to the three student keynote speakers, the event will include the Reading Police Department Honor Guard and Reading Fire Department Honor Guard. There will be performances by the Reading Community Singers, Reading Community Concert Band, and Encore Dance Academy.

For full information about this event, visit or  The 9/11 Commemoration is generously sponsored by Reading Rotary, Reading Fall Street Faire, Reading PorchFest, and Brian Tobin of Guaranteed Rate.

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