Middle schoolers race to moon and back in reading competition


November 09, 2001|By Peg Adamarczk | Peg Adamarczk,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

HIGH-FIVES for a job well done to the kids at Chesapeake Bay Middle School who competed in the Trip to the Moon Read-A-Thon challenge last month.

The school's language arts department, with much support from parents, teachers and administrators, dared more than 1,700 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders to read their way to the moon and back - a round trip of 442,912 miles - while competing for prizes and raising funds for classroom libraries.

Pupils pledged to read books for pleasure and get sponsors. Each page read equaled a mile in the challenge; pupils had to cover a minimum of eight pages a day to complete the goal.

When the contest ended on Halloween, Peggy Sange, school reading resource teacher, was overwhelmed by the pupils' response.

"We knew that our students had almost completed the challenge a week before the contest ended," she said. The final count of pages read had to wait until the pupils turned in their mile tracker sheets, complete with adult verification.

The results, said Sange, were "incredible." The grand total of pages read was 857,351 - more than three-quarters of a million.

"Our students not only read enough to make the round trip to the moon and back, they had enough pages to return to the moon for a second time and make it nine-tenths of the way back home," Sange said. "I knew that they could do it."

Principal Gary Williams pronounced the read-a-thon a success.

"This contest really motivated our students to read," he said. "Everyone at school got into the spirit of the competition. I'm very proud of our students and the interest they showed in reading."

Faculty comments about the contest backed up Williams' opinion. Yvonne Allen, a seventh-grade social studies teacher, said that she had never seen pupils so eager to read. "They couldn't wait to finish their assignments so that they could read for fun," she reported.

The winning interdisciplinary teams were: the Brain Busters, a sixth-grade team led by science teacher Jill McCutchan, with a total of 153,417 pages; the Whizards, a seventh-grade team led by Eric Greenlee, science teacher, with 73,257 pages; and the Energizers, an eighth-grade team led by science teacher Jake Gavin, with 62,225 pages.

The three winning teams were feted at an ice cream social to celebrate their success.

"We were happy that the younger students won, but the numbers could have been much different had all of the students remembered to have an adult verify the number of pages they read," Sange explained.

Two-hundred thirty CBMS pupils read 1,000-plus pages during the contest. Their rewards included a pizza party at school in their honor and attendance at an assembly presented by Marc Clayton, a scientist from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Clayton dazzled the top readers with experiments on thermodynamics, centrifugal force and the effect of heat and cold on objects in space.

With the read-a-thon over and the winners announced, Sange is waiting for students to turn in sponsors' pledges and making plans for next year's challenge.

"I think we really turned our kids on to reading," she said. "There are huge crowds at the book fair eager to buy books, from the classics to science fiction, just to read for enjoyment."

Way to go CBMS!

Anglers to meet

The Pasadena Sportfishing Group will have its monthly meeting at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Earleigh Heights fire hall on Ritchie Highway.

The guest speaker for November's meeting will be Greg Karns, skipper of the Gone Fishin charter boat out of Rock Hall. Karns will give tips on how and where to chum, troll and bottom fish in the upper Chesapeake Bay.

Returning by popular demand, Bill Mintzer, from B.B. Knives, will be available to hone hunting and fillet knives while you wait. Paul Coakley, the group's spokesman, said that with Thanksgiving just around the corner, it's a great time to have carving knives sharpened, too.

Meetings are free and open to anglers of all ages. The doors open at 6 p.m. for food and refreshments, served by Earleigh Heights volunteers.

Information: 410-HEY-FISH (439-3474) or visit the PSG Web site at www.heyfish.com.

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