Readers send principal to the roof

Staff writer

The Marion Elementary School student body teamed up to send Principal Justin Wasmuth to the school’s roof on Monday by collectively reading more than 20,000 minutes last week during the annual nationwide event and reading celebration, Children’s Book Week.

“I set the schoolwide goal 20,000 minutes for the kids to reach by Friday,” librarian Lori Kirkpatrick said. “They read 24,148 minutes. We’re a school of readers!”

By shattering the goal set for them, students forced Wasmuth to conduct business from a temporary office on the school’s roof — set up by maintenance staff Quinn Trapp and Julie Crayton — that consisted of a small desk and chair, his laptop, a whole lot of blue sky, and strong winds.

Kirkpatrick’s idea was to do something fun to get kids reading. She said Wasmuth didn’t hesitate when she approached him about being the incentive in the idea.

Students watched him climb up to his open-air office at the beginning of the day and different classes visited him throughout the day to deliver items they thought he might need.

Wasmuth used a basket and rope to pull up the items up.

Third-graders brought him sunscreen and an umbrella to protect against the sun, first-graders brought a spray bottle and fan for him to keep cool, and second-graders brought him lunch.

He was also given a yellow safety helmet as a joke in case he got lost.

Music teacher Anita Hancock brought several classes out to serenade him, and physical education teacher Nicki Case let her classes run their laps around the front drive of the elementary.

Later in the afternoon, third-graders also ambushed him with water balloons. However, Wasmuth had been tipped off and was ready with his own bag of water balloons.

“It’s hard to get students motivated at the end of the year,” Wasmuth said. “Lori had a great idea that got them reading outside just before summer. The kids read over 24,000 minutes in 4 days.”

Each elementary student had to read at least 20 minutes or more every night and fill out a form signed by his or her parents to make Wasmuth hit the roof.

Students kept track of their time reading in a logbook, Kirkpatrick said. Time parents spent reading to their kindergartners and first-graders was also counted.

“Usually by second-grade the minutes are read by the student,” she said. “If the younger students are read to, we count those very important minutes, too.”

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