Grace Elizabeth Washney is a fourth-grade student at Wyoming Area Tenth Street Elementary. Washney, 9, is the reigning Little Miss Library for the Wyoming Free Library. She lives in West Wyoming with her parents, Robert and Jennifer.
What exactly does it mean to be Little Miss Library? How did you win the honor? "A group of kids at my school entered essays on what they like about the Wyoming Free Library. It came down to three essays being the best. I was finally picked as Little Miss Library and the runners up are part of my court. They are Abby Tirva and Eliana Para. I am the second Little Miss Library and I get to wear a crown too; it is a great honor."
I see you have your winning essay with you. Can we share it with the public? "Sure, here it is: ‘I like the Wyoming Free Library because of the books. They can take you to new places. Every time you turn the page there is a new mystery to solve, and adventure to follow, or knowledge to gain. When you go to this library, all of that can be found. On a day when you're sad or angry, come to the library and you will forget about everything. So get a ride to this library, find a good book, and hold on tight'."
What kind of events have you participated in since being crowned? "I was in the Memorial Day Parade and I got to ride in a car with the librarian. I also worked with my elementary school and Junior Friends of the Library and the Book Club there to co-sponsor various events at the library."
One of the interesting things you are working on helps to benefit the library. Can you tell us a bit about the "High Five the Library?" "Well, I am in a video that my parents posted on Youtube called, ‘High Five at the Wyoming Free Library with Grace Washney.' We are hoping that it can go viral and will help bring more people to the library and events here so we can raise funds to support it. High Five the Library is where anyone can come to the library and pick a paint color of their choice and make a handprint or two on a canvas which will be seen for years to come. It's only five dollars and really helps the library. We actually sent the video to the Ellen DeGeneres show and are waiting to hear back from her. We invited her to send us two framed handprints. One would be for the wall at the library and the other would be auctioned off to benefit the library."
You mentioned that there are other events coming around the holidays. Will we hear Santa's reindeer come December? "Santa Claus will be here. He will be in the library on Dec. 1. You know how there are always lines at the mall to see him? Well, for a minimum donation of five dollars you can arrange to have an appointment with him and spend time with him. You also get your picture taken with Santa."
When you grow up even more, what would you like to do? "I would like to go to college in Stroudsburg. I love that area. I would then like to be a teacher of the third- or fourth-grade and try to follow in the past footsteps of teachers that helped me in the path of learning."
So being an avid reader, what books do you like best? "I love ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,' the Harry Potter series, ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer' and ‘Huckleberry Finn' and ‘Eragon'."
What television shows or movies do you enjoy? "I like ‘Victorious' on TV and ‘Mulan II' as one of my favorite films."
How about favorite foods? "I love pierogies, chicken wings and Goldfish crackers."
Do you have any favorite quotes or sayings? "To be or not to be, that is the question." "I like to say, ‘what evs,' too. That's short for whatever."
Do you have any heroes or role models? "Benjamin Franklin is my hero because he invented things like me when I was little. I want to be like my cousin, Gabrielle because she is really smart and funny. She is my role model."
Other than the Wyoming Free Library, where do you like to visit or travel to? "I love my school library, especially on rainy days. I like that feeling of reading during study hall while hanging out there. I love to go to the beach, too. I love Bethany Beach in Delaware. Someday I would like to visit Rio. I saw it in the movie ‘Rio' and I think it would be so beautiful there."
Who is your favorite musician? "It used to be Hannah Montana. Now it is Selena Gomez."
What was a proud moment in your life so far? "I was at a council meeting once and received a Good Ambassador award for addressing the council about litter and ways to combat it. I had the "No Trash Day" idea where people would pick up 20 pieces of litter and bag it with their name on it. They would then deposit it in a big tub at the end of the street. The mayor also put his handprint on our High Five banner."
How old were you when you began to read? "I was two when I asked when can I read to my parents and my dad started to sound words out with me."
Where is the library and how can people get in touch with it? "It is at 358 Wyoming Avenue in Wyoming and the phone number is 693-1364."
John Gordon writes about area people for the Meet feature. Reach him at 970-7229.