Young readers make the cut after principal issues challenge


May 08, 2000|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

REPEATING THE motto "Readers are Leaders," William Winchester Elementary Principal Mark Vigliotti watched Thursday afternoon as his salt-and-pepper hair fell to the ground amid wild cheers from his pupils.

Vigliotti, who could also be heard singing "I look pretty," had promised the youngsters in January that they could shave his hair into a stubbly buzz cut if they all participated in the school's reading incentive program this spring.

The pupils read for a total of 399,562 minutes during the past four months. Linda Pugh, the school's Integrated Language Arts specialist, told the children they had read for the equivalent of 277.5 days.

"If you started today," she told the kids on Thursday, "you'd be finished on February 6, 2001."

The program, which was designed to encourage independent reading in the school's six grades, challenged first- through fifth-graders to read 20 minutes each day.

Kindergarten pupils counted the number of books they read rather than the minutes spent reading.

Because pupils were responsible for keeping their time cards and getting their parents to sign them, the exercise required honesty as well as reading skills.

"I'm very, very proud of all of you," Vigliotti told his pupils Thursday.

"You did an outstanding job, not only with your reading skills, but [with] your math skills, your integrity, character and sportsmanship."

At Thursday's celebration, awards were given for individual and classroom accomplishments. Each class that read the most minutes for its grade level received a pizza party from Papa John's. Gold medals were given to the top male and female readers in each grade.

Top boys were Joshua Mackley, first grade, with 1,865 minutes; Timothy Bangert, second grade, with 3,401 minutes; Zauhn Lewis, third grade, with 5,975 minutes; Travis Norris, fourth grade, with 2,190 minutes; and Ben Denham, fifth grade, with 2,060 minutes.

Girls who read for the longest were Mandy Buell, first grade, with 2,912 minutes; Ashley Miller, second grade, with 3,559 minutes; Kathleen Tolliver, third grade, with 8,265 minutes; Lauren Lamon, fourth grade, with 8,265 minutes; and Theresa Wolf, fifth grade, with 9,680 minutes.

"We believe that that is a conservative estimate," Vigliotti said of Theresa's achievement, noting that she had read the longest period of time of any William Winchester pupil. "I'm sure she read over 10,000 minutes."

Finally, a drawing was held for various prizes, such as Ravens T-shirts and basketballs.

Pupils placed slips with their names into a container for their grade level each time they completed 100 minutes of reading.

After choosing one name for each grade level, the remaining slips were combined for a drawing of five more prizes.

Not surprisingly, Theresa's name was drawn from her grade level's box to receive a T-shirt. She also received an individual prize for being the top reader.

"The more you read, the more you win," Pugh told the pupils, noting that Theresa's name was probably on 96 different slips of paper.

The main event was Vigliotti's haircut.

To cheers of "Shave it, shave it" and "Make him bald," six William Winchester pupils -- with the assistance of Kristy Raska, a Carroll County Technology Center cosmetology pupil -- clipped off their principal's hair.

The "mystery barbers," chosen during the grade-level name drawings, were Tyler Shipley, first grade; Megan Rhodes, second grade; Nikolette Koons, third grade; Rachel Duket, fourth grade, and Carrie Markel, fifth grade. Theresa Wolf also was allowed to be a barber because of her reading achievement.

"For some kids, it was difficult to sustain this [reading activity] for four months," Pugh said after the celebration. "But the goal of the haircut really kept things going."

Mother's Day winner

This Sunday, many Carroll County youngsters will be presenting their mothers with hand-made creations declaring their love and admiration.

But only 9-year-old Jordan Neville of Westminster can claim her card was chosen as Maryland's best in the KFC "All-American Salute to Mothers" national card contest.

"I feel good about it," said Jordan, adding that her grandmother had told her about the contest -- sponsored by KFC and Family Circle magazine -- and encouraged her to enter.

The card -- which can be seen on KFC's Web site, -- features a mother pig holding a baby pig while five other piglets play around her.

Inside, Mama Pig is soaking in a hot tub under a caption that reads, "It's Your Day. Relax and Soak Your `Piggies.' Happy Mother's Day."

"I came up with the idea from a stuffed pig that I got from the zoo when I was five," Jordan said, adding that her parents call her "Piggy."

The Cranberry Station Elementary fourth-grader, who is a middle youngster in a family of five children, received a contest certificate and KFC gift certificates to take her mother out to dinner.

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