Albany Tulip Queen

Literacy Programs

Tulip Queen Literacy Programs


2017 Literacy Programs

R.E.P. Yourself is an initiative to enhance the literacy skills of school-aged children within Albany County. R.E.P. Yourself allows participants to reflect on the past, embrace the present, and prepare for the future through writing about their personal experiences and unique goals. The program was implemented in the Boys and Girls Club, 15 Love, and the Albany International Center at North Albany Academy. A collection of the written works from participants of the program has been published on the R.E.P. Yourself website.

The 2017 Albany Tulip Queen and Court strongly believes that everyone has a voice. This program has allowed these voices to be heard, because every voice has a story and every story holds great importance.

2016 Literacy Programs

"Traveling with the Tulips" was a way of showing children how they can explore the world through literature. The Students learned about 4 amazing places: Ghana, Indonesia, Jamaica, and China, while having the opportunity to interact with members of the court in engaging conversation and activities. Throughout the program children became more and more engaged in the readings and certainly asked a lot of questions. Their questions stemmed from a place of curiosity, as well as a new found interest in reading. Coming to realize that reading can create a segue to places where not even one's own imagination had ever thought of.

2015 Literacy Programs

R.E.A.D, which stands for "Reading Encourages Adolescent Discovery", is an incentive program where the Queen and Court promote literacy by allowing students to choose reading goals. If students meet or exceeded those goals they receive sporting tickets to local games around the Capital Region. With each visit to the classroom, the students would talk about their favorite passages from each of the books they read. "The Great Tulip Detectives" is a little more hands-on and crafty! The Tulips wrote their own mystery novel and will be going to different local schools to share the story, and have students write their own! The court teaches lessons to help students craft their story and help them learn the different integral parts of a mystery story. At the end of the program students make popsicle stick characters from their story.

2014 Literacy Programs

Imagination Ink: Calling All Super Writers. For the program, Tulip Queen Caitlin Whelan and Court members used the medium of graphic novels to help promote literacy, creativity and compassion. Collaborating with a local illustrator, the Court wrote their own superhero novel, "Super Tulips," a story designed to inspire students to be everyday heroes through their words and actions. The Queen and Court then spent three weeks at each school working with students on the initiative, reading their novel and encouraging the students to create their own works. With the help of Catholic Central High School artists and Fort Orange Press printing, the students were presented with professionally printed versions of their stories at the Family Day event.

2013 Literacy Programs

The 2013 Tulip Queen and Court have been working hard to create and implement two literacy programs for their year of reign. The first is entitled Feed Your Mind. This program is designed for Pre K- 2nd grade students who want a hands on approach to reading! We have selected 9 culturally diverse children's books that will be read to the students and used to understand different cultures and backgrounds. With each story we have connected some sort of fun snack that represents the culture. After reading the book and discussing what it is telling us we will have the children make their fun snack. This will allow students a wide range of exposure to cultures around the world and in their backyards while enjoying a tasty snack!

The second program is Oh, the Places You're Going. This program is designed for 3rd-6th grade students and based off of the story Oh, the Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss. At the start of the year we will read this book with the students and dig in to what the title truly means. We will guide students to discover the different careers available to them and help find their dream job! The students will write about why this is their dream job, write letters to professionals in that field, and read books about that career path. At the end of the year, we will have local professionals come in to speak to the students about their own career and what they will need to do to pursue and obtain that dream job if only they put their mind to it!

2012 Literacy Program

The 2012 Tulip Queen and Court have been hard at work creating not only one, but two literacy programs for the students of Albany elementary schools.

The first is entitled Read, Write, Dream, Speak. Utilizing the book Sunny Holiday by local author Coleen Paratore, the Tulip Queen and Court have been focusing on the importance of being involved in your community. Through the partnership with Capital Communication Federal Credit Union, the Tulips were able to purchase enough books so that each 6th grade student may keep his/her own copy. The Tulips review the book, facilitate meaningful conversations and ultimately help the students create one "powerful paragraph". In the last of the three-part workshop, the students have the opportunity to participate in a "Mayor's Press Conference" where they can showcase what they would do if they were Mayor for the Day. This day also includes a special appearance by the author, Coleen Paratore. She speaks about the book and how important it is to be a part of the community. She then takes the time to autograph each student's book.

The next is the Traveling Tulips program. Utilizing the book Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown as a foundation, the Tulip Queen and Court have developed their own "flat characters" - Tammy and Tommy Tulip. Tammy and Tommy travel among several neighboring Albany elementary schools. While visiting each second grade classroom, the Tulips take the time to see what the students have been up to, asking them a series of questions and then recording the answers in their own Traveling Tulips journal. Once their journal page is complete, Tammy and Tommy venture to a different school, letting the new school know what the previous school is up to - almost like a pen pal program. At the end, there will be a compilation of all the journal entries and a small book to leave with each classroom.

The Tulip Queen and Court are very proud of their programs and can only hope the students are not only enjoying themselves but learning how important literacy is in their academic careers.

The Albany Tulip Queen Fund

The 2008 Tulip Queen Sarah Volk and Court have teamed up with the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region (which is now handled by the United Way) to create a trust fund for future Tulip Queens and Courts to award grants to local literacy organizations.

As you know, or can continue to read on our web site the Tulip Queen and Court work with local organizations and the City of Albany to create a literacy program in the community each year. The Albany Tulip Queen and Court Fund will award grants to local literacy organizations they may be working with. This is an excellent way to give back to the community and create a sustainable resource and livelihood for future Tulip Queens and Courts.

2011 Literacy Campaign

The 2011 TQ and Court have worked hard to create a fun, interactive, and creative program to enhance the Mayor's Literacy Campaign. "Lights, Camera, Literacy" is a program they have initiated 2-3 times monthly at the Albany Main Library and hope to continue at after-school programs throughout Albany in the fall and winter and other various locations in the future.

At the program, the TQ and Court read a book with a literary conflict to a group of 20-30 children and omit the ending. The children, in small groups, are then challenged to create their own ending using teamwork, imagination, props, and costumes. They then perform their created skits to the group as a whole. The children are then read the real ending of the story and engage in a discussion regarding similarities and differences between the created skits and true ending. In appreciation for coming, each participant is provided with a goody bag including a frisbee, pencil, ruler, and book.

The Tulip Queen and Court hope that their program has stimulated and encouraged creativity, and promoted the interest in and joy of reading and will continue to!

2010 Literacy Campaign

The 2010 Tulip Queen, Mishka Gilkes and her Court collaborated with the third grade classes of the Albany School of Humanities. Each Court member was paired with a classroom where they worked with the students twice a month in writing and illustrating their own storybooks. Each classroom had its own theme for the book, ranging from sea animals to the study of European countries. The students especially enjoyed the creative writing portion of the book creation. The Tulips assisted the students in researching the subject, creating a rough draft, editing and completing the book. Each student put their final product into their very own bare back book.

Each month the Tulip Queen & Court visited the Boys and Girls Club where they introduced a new and exciting activity to the children. Some of these activities included arts and crafts, holiday greeting cards, themed readings and much more. In addition to the Boys & Girls Club, the Tulip Queen & Court helped out each month at the Salvation Army Family Fun Night. The Court served dinner to the children and their families and took part in an arts & crafts project as well as a reading.

2009 Literacy Campaign

Be Your Own Tulip

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go," said Dr. Seuss.

This is the hope and goal we have for the youth in Albany. The Tulip Court and I want children to reach their dreams and receive the best education provided. However, the key to success is reading! We believe we can make a difference by opening their minds to the endless opportunities all around them.

Our 2009 Literacy Program is called "Be Your Own Tulip Queen", which inspires all girls to be strong, smart and bold. Every week we meet with fifth and sixth graders at Girls Inc. and mentor them to become leaders, achievers, and great readers. We venture our way through inspirational poems, short plays and through songs. In the beginning of each program meeting we shout "I'm alert, I'm alive, I feel great" and repeat it to see who can say it the loudest. We want the girls to feel good about themselves and live positive lives.

Our second 2009 Literacy Program is "Family Fun Night" at the Salvation Army. Every month we enjoy a themed evening with children and their families. For example, on Madagascar Night, we read books about lions and made animal hand puppets. The Tulip Court and I then serve a delicious dinner made by student cooks and volunteers. This event is magical because it supports parents and kids working together to be successful and learning the importance of reading. I want to thank the Salvation Army and Girls Inc. for allowing us to work together to make a difference in Albany!

I want to thank the Salvation Army and Girls Inc. for allowing us to work together to make a difference in Albany!

2008 Literacy Campaign

2008 Tulip Queen Sarah Volk and Court: Communities Connect - Cultural Literacy and Mayor Jerry Jennings Literacy Book Drive

The 2008 Tulip Queen and Court established the program Communities Connect-Cultural Literacy. The court worked with Literacy Volunteer of Huson-Mohawk to create a community based experience for limited English speaking families. A two-hour event was held once a month, October through May, for EL Civics students working with Literacy Volunteers of Hudson Mohawk. EL Civics is a class designed to help refugees in the Albany area to learn the language and daily basics of American life students. This program connects new limited English speaking families with each other and individuals around the community. By providing a comfortable 'practice zone' for limited English speaking families to gain practical skills in English communication (writing, reading, speaking) these events helped families understand new cultural practices.

Sarah Volk and her court also promoted and collected books for Mayor Jerry Jennings Literacy Book Drive. New and gently used book donations were dropped off at: Albany Public Library, SEFCU, City Hall Rotunda, Blue Dog Art Store, and Little Bookhouse. All books were donated to: Arbor Hill Community Center, Albany City Schools, Parsons Child & Family Center, and Project STRIVE.

2007 Literacy Campaign

2007 Tulip Queen, Amisha Gomes and Court: "CREATIVE MINDS in Action" and the 2007 Book Drive to benefit the Arbor Hill Community Center.

Tulip Queen and Court worked with 10 third grade students from North Albany Academy every Monday from January to June. Amisha Gomes and her court read stories written by local authors and asked the children to use their imaginations by illustrating and writing a different ending. Once a month local authors would stop by allowing the children to share their creativity with them and ask questions.

2007 Book Drive to benefit the Arbor Hill Community Center. The 2007 Court fostered a partnership with SEFCU which garnered over 3,000 books and a $2,500 contribution to the Arbor Hill Community Center. While the books were originally destined only for AHCC, the drive resulted in books of all age levels, and approximately 12 not-for profit organizations benefited including the VA Hospital, The Capital City Mission, Project STRIVE and Parsons.

2006 Literacy Campaign

2006 Tulip Queen, Amanda Benincasa and Court: "All Stars Book Club"

The 2006 Tulip Queen, Amanda Benincasa and her court developed the All Stars Book Club. Every other Tuesday, the program assisted students from North Albany Academy in writing and publishing their own children's book. The tulips had a special guest speaker, William Kennedy visit the book club to answer questions help the students on their own writing projects.

The 2006 court also held a book drive from September through October with drop off sites located throughout the Capital Region. The drive collected over 300 children's books, all of which were donated to Parsons Child and Family Center.

2005 Literacy Campaign

2005 Tulip Queen, Amy Deitz and Court: "After School All Stars"

Amy Deitz and her court's installation of the Mayor's Literacy Campaign After School All Stars was a coordination of Trinity Institute, Arbor Hill Community Center and local college athletes. Throughout the year, the court invited local college athletes to read to children in the after school program and provide brief instruction on their specific sport at Arbor Hill Community Center

2004 Literacy Campaign

2004 Tulip Queen, Meredith Rose and Court: Story time and "Be Scene Reading" program

The Queen and Court developed a community project for a summer reading program entitled Be Scene Reading. The program encouraged children in three age categories to develop a work of art from a scene in their favorite book. Meredith Rose and her court hosted a free story time at the Little Book House in Stuyvesant Plaza.

2003 Literacy Campaign

2003 Tulip Queen, Kaylin Gross and Court: Project Strive

The 2003 Tulip Queen, Kaylin Gross and her court worked with the after school program, Project STRIVE to produce "artwork" placemats which were sent to sailors aboard the USS Albany. Project STRIVE is a social service program based in Albany, Guilderland and Watervliet that assists families dealing with crisis – alcoholism, drug abuse, physical abuse and mental illness.

2002 Literacy Campaign

2002 Tulip Queen, Jennifer Gould and Court: Navy Pen Pal Project & Story time

Jennifer Gould and her court assisted Kindergarten students of the Thomas O'Brien Academy of Science and Technology in with writing letters and drawing self-portraits that were sent to the sailors aboard the USS Albany SSN 753 nuclear submarine.

The 2002 court also coordinated free story times at Borders Books and Music on Wolf Road. Special guest readers included: television sports caster Lars Lifrack from NewsChannel 13, Tim Mack from Channel 6 News, and Siena College Men's Basketball team member Justin Miller.

2001 Literacy Campaign

2001 Tulip Queen, Amy Kaplan and Court: Navy Pen Pal Project

Amy Kaplan and her court established the Navy Pen Pal Project with the 7th grade students of Philip Livingston Magnet Academy. Each student wrote letters and made bookmarks for the sailors aboard the USS Albany SSN 753 nuclear submarine.

Amy Kaplan and her court also participated in free story hours at the Little Book House in Stuyvesant Plaza with different special guest readers.

2000 Literacy Campaign

2000 Tulip Queen, Kelly Conlon and Court: Story Hours

Kelly Conlon and her court hosted free story hours at Waldenbooks in Colonie Center. Special guest readers included members of the Saint Rose and Siena College athletic teams who each read one of their favorite childhood books.

1999 Literacy Campaign

1999 Tulip Queen, Nicole Stack and Court: Book Donations

The 1999 Tulip Queen, Nicole Stack and Court focused on putting books into the hands of children. To promote the project, the Tulips participated in story hours and collected book donations for the Tulip Queen Reading Room in the Albany Public Library. Nicole Stack and her court worked on two projects to solicit donations, Project Enrich and Coupon BookFair. Project Enrich involved the public purchasing a book of their choice at Waldenbooks, which would be directly donated to the Literacy Campaign. The second project, Coupon BookFair was a project in which the public presented a coupon with purchase at Waldenbooks and 20% of the purchase price was donated to buy books for the Literacy Campaign.

Nicole Stack and her court also initiated a new installment of the Mayor's Literacy Program entitled Hugs and Kisses. The program trained volunteers to read to disabled children at three children's centers: Parson Child and Family Center, St. Margaret's Center for Children and Catholic Charities.

1998 Literacy Campaign

1998 Tulip Queen, Katie O'Malley Tulip Queen Story Hour & The Tulip Queen Reading Room

Katie O'Malley and her court hosted and series of Tulip Queen Story Hours help at Lauriat's Bookstore in Colonie Center, this program invited local celebrities to come and show the importance of reading to the capital Region's young children. This developed into a fundraiser and garnered $1700 to purchase new books for local children.

The 1998 court also established the Tulip Queen Reading Room in the Albany Public Library on Washington Ave near the children's center in the library where organizations, including the queen & court can hold story hours.

About Us

The City of Albany, NY Office of Cultural Affairs plans, produces and co-sponsors an array of fairs, festivals, and concerts promoting art, entertainment and cultural interest for all ages. These special events are 100% underwritten by generous local and national sponsors.



City of Albany Office of Cultural Affairs
City Hall - Room M252
Albany, NY 12207
P: (518) 434.2032

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