DERRY — Students in Linda Rosinski’s class always look forward to “Caitlin Day.”
That’s the day every week when 13-year-old Caitlin Cyr comes to the first-grade class at Derry Village Elementary School to volunteer.
Caitlin was given another honor, not just by her young fans at Derry Village, but at the state level. She was recently named the state PTA’s middle school Volunteer of the Year.
Rosinski’s class planned a surprise event in her honor last week.
The West Running Brook Middle School eighth-grader spends time every week in Linda Rosinski’s class, helping students read and learn.
Rosinski nominated Caitlin for the award. She said the teen spent 112 hours volunteering in her class last year. Caitlin continues to come twice a week this year to help with reading, special projects and other activities, including help reinforcing skills in math and language arts.
She also reads to the students.
Along with helping at Derry Village, Caitlin is an honor student, plays in the West Running Brook band, takes dance lessons and loves the drama club.
“She is an amazing young lady and shows courtesy, concern and respect in everything she does,” Rosinski said. “She treats each student in my class with respect and kindness at all times.”
After Caitlin was named the state’s top volunteer, Rosinski and her students decided to host a surprise party.
When Caitlin arrived, she was bombarded by eager students holding shakers and playing instruments. Handmade cards then filled Caitlin’s lap as she sat at the head of the class as theguest of honor.
West Running Brook principal Leslie Saucier and Derry Superintendent Laura Nelson also came to the party, along with Caitlin’s father, Paul.
Derry Village fifth-grade teacher Joanne Duncan also came to welcome Caitlin. She had the teen as a student in her class.
Caitlin said Duncan is a special teacher.
“(She) got me ready for middle school,” Caitlin said.
Duncan remembered Caitlin as someone who worked hard and never gave up on anything.
“She was a good thinker,” Duncan said. “You gave her a task and she kept going back to it, until it was right.”
The teen said she loves to help others and was prepared well during her years at Derry Village.
“I just like to help kids,” she said. “They can learn from someone that’s younger (than a teacher), who has experience.”
Caitlin said she may want to someday be a teacher or, perhaps, a veterinarian.
First-grader Olivia Hammond said she loves having Caitlin come to school.
“She plays with us,” she said.
Bryce DeCoste said having Caitlin help in the classroom makes him happy.
“She reads to us and helps us learn,” he said.
Duncan said Caitlin is a remarkable young woman.
“She is so genuine,” she said. “She’s like the real deal.”
Rosinski said Caitlin has a great effect on her young students.
“My students look up to her; she is a role model and they love her,” Rosinski said. “My first-grade students couldn’t wait until it was Caitlin Day.”