MIDDLEBURY — Mary Hogan Elementary School students are ready to reap the rewards of ID-4’s first-ever Read-a-thon, which in November saw participants read a combined total of 431,677 minutes while raising thousands of dollars for education programs.
“We really do all feel that the first-ever Mary Hogan School Read-a-thon was already an amazing success,” said Janet Lapiner, a lead organizer of the event. “The students read and read, and then read more ... and more. And that is the real prize.”
The Read-a-thon saw students collect pledges for the amount of time they spent reading — or were read to by adults, in the case of the youngest children. The principle, tested with success in other communities, is that read-a-thon participants learn from the reading and at the same time raise revenues for extra-curricular school activities.
Past Mary Hogan Elementary School fundraisers have seen students ask friends and relatives to order items from catalogues. That effort had yielded $4,000 to $7,000 each year. Members of the Middlebury Elementary School Association (MESA) decided to give the voluntary Read-a-thon a try this year, and are ecstatic with the results.
Lapiner reported 85 percent of the school’s students participated in the program, which evolved into a spirited competition between grades and classmates.
Different students and different classrooms shared the honors of being the top readers and top reading classrooms each week, Lapiner noted.
In the end, the top reading classrooms overall for each grade were:
• Kindergarten — Patti Crosby’s class with 11,304 minutes.
• First Grade — Melissa Flint and Amber Harris’s class with 14,708 minutes.
• Second Grade — Donna Mackenzie’s class with 13,419 minutes.
• Third Grade — Jennifer Larocque’s class with 27,040 minutes.
• Fourth Grade — Carol Callahan’s class with 23,895 minutes.
• Fifth Grade — Deb Levesque’s class with 31,377 minutes.
• Sixth Grade — Jane Shepard’s class with 49,146 minutes.
Top readers (and their total minutes) for each grade will be revealed at the “Keep Reading & Closing Ceremony” on Friday, Dec. 9, at 1:30 p.m., in the Mary Hogan gym. Each will win a $10 gift certificate at The Vermont Book Shop.
The top reader for kindergarten through grade 2 and the top reader for grades 3 through 6 will get to symbolically choose “who they want to be for the day.” Options include principal, art teacher, nurse, librarian and police officer.
“Hawk Readers” (anyone in K-2 who read more than 500 minutes total, and anyone in grades 3-6 who read more than 1,000 minutes) will receive two limited edition Mary Hogan School Read-a-thon Hawk Reader pencils, a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream certificate and a READ sticker from The Vermont Book Shop. There were 203 “Hawks” this year, according to Lapiner.
Some “very special top readers” will also receive Middlebury College Snow Bowl day passes.
The top reading classrooms received Popsicle parties throughout the read-a-thon. On the final counting day, Dec. 1, all classrooms were awarded a Popsicle party for their performances and teamwork during the competition.
“They surpassed all numbers that we would have ever dreamed of for the first ever school read-a-thon,” Lapiner said.
Organizers are still tabulating the amount of money raised through the event. If every student collected 1 cent per minute, that would amount to $4,316.77. But of course some students had more than one sponsor, and some sponsors pledged more than 1 cent per minute, meaning the total is likely to be far more impressive. Pledge money is due at the school on or by December 16.
“The community was very supportive of the first-ever Mary Hogan School Read-a-thon this November,” Lapiner said. “We are very grateful for all their support.”
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected]