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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, June 1, 2006

Sixth-grader, hooked on reading, already benefits

By Rod Ohira
Advertiser Staff Writer

Geoffrey Espero

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Age: 11

School: Waipahu Elementary

Who helped you? "My teachers help me learn things, and my mom (Edita Guzon) helps me when I have trouble with homework. She always tells me how important getting a good education is."

What advice would you give to other kids who would like to follow your example? "Start by paying attention in class. It makes your brain have a lot of knowledge. Be proud of projects you complete."

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WAIPAHU If Waipahu Elementary School sixth-grader Geoffrey Espero pursues his career ambitions like he did his reading challenge this year, he'll someday run for elected office or become a filmmaker.

Geoffrey reads 30 minutes to an hour daily and blitzed his school's 25-book reading challenge months before the deadline. "I lost count," he said of the number of books he has read this school year.

His favorite author is Jon Scieszka, whose Time Warp Trio series is about three main characters in different time periods.

"I like mysteries and fantasy books," he said. "I try to use what I learn in school in life, so I like learning new things. Reading is important, because you need it to get a good job."

Through his school's first-year Tech Trekkers program, a partnership with 'Olelo community television, Geoffrey was introduced to producing programs. With Tech Trekkers, he's the "final-cut pro," who does the final edit on the school-produced videotaped programs.

Waipahu Elementary's productions this year included opening day at the state Legislature and the Youth Exchange at Ko Olina Resort.

"Tech Trekkers is a good opportunity to meet new people," he said. "I like working with cameras and computers. I'm proudest of the interview (students) Kimberly Narruhn and Kendrick Latu did with Gov. Linda Lingle. It really brought our team together."

If he were a politician, Geoffrey said, he would address a big need in Waipahu. "We need more playground equipment. ... If there was equipment, young kids could have fun," he said.

As a filmmaker, Geoffrey said, "I'd do a movie that has lessons kids can learn from ... lessons like don't do drugs, don't do drinking, don't join gangs. I'd show them examples of what happens. I know some people in high school who have done drugs and been in gangs. When you do these things, you start to lose everything, family and friends, and people won't like you anymore. And you might even lose your life."

Geoffrey and other sixth-grade Tech Trekkers from Waipahu Elementary have approached Waipahu Intermediate School officials about starting up a program there in the 2006-07 school year to bridge the elementary and high school Tech Trekkers programs.

Reach Rod Ohira at rohira@honoluluadvertiser.com.