Press Room

Contact:Bridget F. Clark, 845-398-4016
Written by:Kaitlyn Decker


The Friends of the Library Host Alumnus and Award Winning Author

(SPARKILL, NY, March 22, 2011) – On Tuesday, April 12 at 4:00 p.m. during National Library Week, the Friends of the Library of St. Thomas Aquinas College and the Division of Teacher Education will present Jan Cheripko, renowned author of books for children and young adults, in the Lougheed Library.  Cheripko will discuss writing and teaching and how his life experiences inform his work. 

As a middle school principal and English teacher at the Family Foundation School, a residential program for at-risk students in grades 6-12 in Hancock, NY., Cheripko has published the following books: Brother Bartholomew and the Apple Grove, Caesar Rodney’s Ride: The Story of an American Patriot, Imitate the Tiger, Rat, Voices of the River: Adventures on the Delaware and Sun, Moon, Stars and Rain.  

Cheripko captures his life experiences and emotions in his work.  These inspiring books have made it to the “pick of the lists”.  Imitate the Tiger won the Joan Fassler Memorial Award. It was named a Parents' Media Guide Choice, a New York Public Library Best Book for the Teen Age, and an International Reading Association (IRA) Young Adults’ Choice. The Society of School Librarians selected it as an International Honor Book, and the American Booksellers chose it as a “Pick of the Lists.” Cheripko received the Delaware Council Special Award, Upper Delaware Heritage Alliance for Voices of the River.  Caesar Rodney's Ride: The Story of an American Patriot won the Parents’ Choice Award. His latest book Rat received the Carolyn Field Honor Award and an IRA Children’s Choice Award. It was also named a New York Public Library Best Book for the Teen Age.

An online profile entitled Jan Cheripko: Writing His Truth, describes how Cheripko’s difficult childhood and recovery from alcoholism made him “the writer and teacher he is today”. His book Imitate the Tiger “is a closely autobiographical account of his detour into addiction from his path as a good student and high school athlete…[In it] the protagonist…ultimately agrees to attend an alternative high school for students with a record of drug and alcohol abuse – a school like the one where Jan teaches English and serves as the middle school principal today.” As a teacher, Cheripko also draws on his own experiences. He encourages his students to use reading and writing to think about their lives and to understand their emotions.  

The Friends of the Library of St. Thomas Aquinas College sponsor lectures in the library by notable speakers from within and outside the College. All Friends’ events are free and open to the community. Community members who are interested in joining The Friends of the Library or participating in Friends activities may contact Ms. Mary Anne Lenk, Director of Library Services, at 845-398-4221or

St. Thomas Aquinas College is an independent liberal arts college located in Sparkill, NY which provides education at the undergraduate and graduate levels.  The College’s 2,700 full and part time students can choose from more than 100 different majors, minors, specializations, and dual degree programs across five divisions: Humanities; Business Administration; Social Sciences; Natural Sciences & Mathematics; and Teacher Education programs. For more information visit




St. Thomas Aquinas College
125 Route 340
Sparkill, NY 10976



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