Students Raise a Record $20,000, Read Over 200,000 Minutes During Week-Long Event
HULL — Superintendent Judith Kuehn, Principal Christine Cappadona and the Hull PTO are pleased to share that students at the Lillian M. Jacobs Elementary School participated in the school’s 18th annual Read-a-thon event recently.
Read-a-thon kicked off on Feb. 26 with a virtual assembly. Assistant Principal Kyle Shaw led the assembly and was joined by the “Reading Pirate” as event details were introduced.
The Read-a-thon officially started that afternoon and ended on Sunday, March 7. Students were provided with reading logs to track the number of minutes they read during the event, as well as a PTO fundraising log.
Students were told that individual awards and classroom awards would be given to top readers and fundraisers. Additionally, a school-wide reading goal of 195,000 minutes was set as a motivating incentive attached to the goal. School staff members volunteered to have their names added to the “Read-a-thon Wheel,” and if the goals were met, at least one of the staff members would be “silly-stringed” from head to toe.
“The Reading Pirate is a famous fixture at the Jacobs School,” Assistant Principal Shaw said. “Every year, he anchors his ship at the school and comes ashore to catch students reading. However, this year, the Reading Pirate decided to practice proper social distancing protocols, and sent messages in a bottle to each class.”
Every student in the school was tasked with a personal reading goal based on their grade level. These included 200 minutes for Pre-K, 250 minutes for kindergarten, 500 minutes for grades 1 and 2, and 750 minutes for grades 3, 4 and 5. Students who reached their goal earned a piece of treasure from the Reading Pirate’s treasure chest.
Each classroom was also tasked with a class-wide reading goal. Clues were provided by the Reading Pirate in rolled up parchment paper when each individual classroom reached a quarterly mark. The clue provided a hint as to the Reading Pirate’s favorite book in each grade level. Classrooms that received all four clues were able to guess the Pirate’s book in an effort to win the book for their classroom library.
Every class that reached their reading goal was also entered into a raffle for a gym game.
Also as part of the event students received a Read-a-thon pledge sheet to bring home to begin collecting pledges. Students were encouraged to get pledges from relatives and neighbors (due to social distancing protocols, pledges could even be given online this year). This year the Jacobs School raised a record amount of money from the event.
This year’s Read-a-thon aligned with Literacy Week, which is celebrated each year during the week of Dr. Seuss’ birthday (March 2). Each day students and staff dressed in various pirate and literacy themed outfits.
During the wrap-up assembly on March 12, individual, classroom and raffle awards were announced and prizes were presented. The class that read the most minutes was also awarded a school-wide art project as a reward for their hard work.
“The Jacobs School raised an astonishing $20,000 this year, which is over twice the amount we raised during their previously-held record year of 2018,” Principal Cappadona said. “The students surpassed their reading goal of 195,000 minutes by reading 214,500 minutes, which is also a tremendous accomplishment. I want to thank all of the students and the entire Jacobs community for making this event so special and successful this year. It really shows what this school is capable of, no matter the circumstances.”
School Adjustment Counselor Maureen Rosenplanter and School Physiologist Lauren Snowdale were chosen as victims of the wheel, and both were “silly-stringed” outside the main office during a live virtual meeting with all classrooms.
The March 12 assembly concluded with messages of thanks to school PTO members, including Amy Hyde and Deborah Irby, who worked to organize the event. It was Irby who first raised the idea of making the Reading Pirate the “star of the show,” and Principal Cappadonna, Assistant Principal Shaw and the rest of the Jacobs staff fully embraced the idea.
“The Hull PTO is unbelievably proud of the hard working readers and fundraisers from the Jacobs Elementary School. This year our main goal for Read-a-thon was to focus on the joy of reading. We wanted this year to be extremely fun, and the fundraising piece was actually secondary in our minds,” Hyde said. “Even though it is our biggest annual fundraiser, this year we didn’t want to put any additional stress on our students, teachers, or families. The Jacobs school community is really wonderful and the Hull PTO is just thrilled at the amount of funds that were raised this year to benefit our schools.”
The Hull PTO hopes the success of this year’s Read-a-thon will inspire other community members to get involved by the time the school allows for in-person volunteers to return.