Last week, Thursday, Rosewood students and teachers took on the all day Read-a-thon challenge! Organized by the Parents Club, the Read-a-thon was a fundraiser intended to raise money for the school media center “in a purposeful way”, according to first grade teacher and parent club board member, Kelly Osterink. “We had a financial goal of $12,000 but more importantly, is that we do this type of event to get the kids invested in their own school. They take ownership of things for which they do the work.” Principal, Lloyd Gingrich adds, “Rosewood’s media center is literally at the very center of our school. The doors are never locked, classes walk through it to get to other parts of the building throughout the day and kids have access to our books all day, every day. Our Read-a-thon raised $11,781 to purchase new furniture and books to make our media center an even better spot to find a great book and curl up to read it.”
“The Read-a-thon was completely planned by the Parent Club. We wanted a great fundraiser for our school and our purpose this year was to make improvements to our media center. [In past years we had walk-a-thons and made improvements to our playground.] A read-a-thon seemed perfect. The Parent Club found sponsors for prizes and additional funding. They purchased a new book for each student in the building [chosen by teachers] and created a bookmark to advertise the sponsors.”
They had a very full day beginning with a kick-off assembly and a special visual of the furniture that will be purchased with the money raised. The students also had the joy of being entertained by the Jenison High School Thespians performing book-themed skits for the assembly audience. Throughout the day reading was the center of each activity with visits from various groups including the Institute for Cultural Communications which featured home schooled students acting out stories for grade K – 2. High School students from West Ottawa came to participate in reading activities with the Spanish Immersion classes and Rosewood 5th graders had some quality time with their Kindergarten buddies for special buddy reading time. The 5th and 6th graders were allowed to relax and spend the day in their pj’s while other classes enjoyed reading outside in the sun! Special guest, Geronimo Stilton, surprised students at lunch and by 1:30 that afternoon all of his books were checked out of the library!
The Read-a-thon culminated in a special assembly at the end of the day to celebrate not only a fantastic day of reading, but to announce the fundraising winners. “All students who participated in the fundraising received special “coupons” for free treats from local vendors. Their names were also put into a random drawing for prizes. Then, prizes were awarded to the top student in each class, top three students in the building, and classroom with the most participation.”
Mr Gingrich was encouraged by the passions for reading he saw throughout the day: “I loved seeing how students really got into their books and that they didn’t want to stop reading.” As for Ms Osterink’s class, they were hooked immediately and asked if they could have another Read-a-thon the next day! “I want to thank the parents and community for their support of our read-a-thon. We couldn’t raise the money without them. We appreciate how much the Jenison community (and beyond) support our school. At Rosewood, we see ourselves as a family – teachers, students, parents, community – and through an event like this, getting the whole family involved, we are all working together to encourage reading and emphasize the importance of reading; we are working together to grow the next generation. ” — Kelly Osterink