An East Islip High School senior was recognized recently for sharing her love of reading with dozens of local youngsters.

Kaitlin Cronin, 17, logged more than 80 hours as a volunteer over the past two years, bringing an after-school reading program to children at Timber Point Elementary School in East Islip.

"I've wanted to be a teacher, so it seemed appropriate I'd do something along those lines," said Cronin, 17. Of her efforts, she said: "It felt so good. I've seen the kids grow up a little."

She also hosted craft activities with the children and created a wooden crate on wheels, which can hold scores of books, to serve as a portable library.

The after-school sessions included seven to 20 students in kindergarten through fifth grade, Cronin said. To cover her expenses, she raised about $150 by recycling empty bottles and cans.

The project helped her earn the Girl Scout Gold Award, considered the organization's highest achievement.

"Katie's willingness to give back to her community represents all we try to instill in our young people -- a sense of East Islip pride and compassion," superintendent Linda Rozzi said in a statement. "We are so proud of Katie's achievement."

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Cronin also is a coach at the East Islip Soccer Club.