By: Erin Halligan Trummer
What happens when you challenge 328 Cathedral students and 29 staff members to read for 350,000 minutes in 30 days? They rise to the occasion and exceed the goal beyond expectations! From September 10th to October 10th the students and staff of Cathedral took part in the Can Read Challenge, a reading initiative started to get students hooked on the joy of reading.
The students were divided into teams: Team Harry Potter (junior high students), Team My Weird School (first- and fourth-grade), Team Magic Tree House (kindergarten and third-grade), and Team Diary of a Wimpy Kid (second- and fifth-grade), and each team had a junior high student as their leader to encourage and cheer the students on. “The Can Read Challenge was so much fun! To see kids reading every spare minute, and to hear stories of students choosing books over video games was inspiring. The impetus for the Can Read Challenge’s timing was that we create readers for the rest of the school year (and life!)” said Principal, Jeremy Ekeler.
From the beginning of the competition, students were reading in the halls while on break, on the playground at recess, at home over breakfast, and even in the shopping cart at the store. “The Can Read Challenge was so much fun. I got a lot of my minutes by reading to my little sister” said fourth-grader Willa Kearney.
Even Junior High teacher Chanel Smriga couldn’t help getting into the competitive spirit with her students. “I just loved watching the Junior High Students get excited about reading. Showing them that every minute of reading counts towards our goal can really encourage every student to read more. From a student who reads everyday getting recognition for reading 1,000 minutes a week, to a student who doesn’t like to read but is encouraged to by the contest, I feel like this competition has been a huge success!”
When all was said and done, the winning team was Team Harry Potter. Having read a total of 132,329 minutes, they ultimately won the Top Secret Field Trip Prize! The rest of the school was not without reward, however. With the school-wide reading goal of 350,000 minutes being met, all of the students won a day out of dress code and an ice cream social. Even after the dust has settled on the Can Read Challenge, students can still be found in the halls, at recess, and at home reading their books. It is easy to see who the real winners of this challenge are!