By Sarah CR Clark
St. Anthony Park Elementary School’s 2020 Read-a-thon set new records in February, climaxing with principal Karen Duke fulfilling a pledge to take on a fun-filled, messy obstacle course if students met their reading goal.
From Feb. 7 to 16, the school’s students read for a combined total of 331,325 minutes, smashing their goal of 220,000 minutes.
The students also raised $12,500, breaking previous fundraising records for the event. “It was a wonderful success,” Duke said. “I am so proud of the students for all of the reading.”
This year’s Read-a-thon was Olympic themed. The phrase “Read for the Gold!” hung on a wall. A “burning” torch made of paper flames greeted students and staff at the front door.
Katie Loth, SAP parent and lead event volunteer, said, “Kids found ways to sneak reading into each and every part of their day, including bringing books to the lunchroom and recess.”
Parents reported to Loth that they found their afternoons quieter as kids switched from loud playing to quiet reading.
While the students won gold by reading so prolifically, Duke claimed gold by performing the promised reward of fulfilling a crowd-pleasing dare she made this year: To complete a messy, Olympic-inspired obstacle course.
“Luckily the only thing that was too hard was climbing to the top of the tetherball pole,” Duke said, reflecting on the obstacle course challenge.
“By the end, I was soaking wet,” she added, explaining “I missed my long jump and fell in the kiddie pool!”
That resulted in Duke getting covered with whipped cream and shaving cream.
“I also couldn’t see very well because my glasses were covered with whipped cream, so I had to take them off,” Duke said. “This is probably the closest I’ll come to the real Olympics, and it was a thrill!”
Sarah CR Clark is a resident of St. Anthony Park and a regular contributor to the Bugle.