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Millions of words - one lasting memory

Thirteen students enjoy their celebrity treatment before heading to St. Cloud as a reward for being the top readers in the Accelerated Reader Challenge. Students include: (third grade) Zachary Fiskness, (fourth grade) Grant Stelling, Larissa Hoffarth, (fifth grade) Lara Drum, Alexis Joanson, Abiah Beam, Mackenzie Fiskness, (sixth grade) Destiny Lene, Julianna Collins, Anna Wolf, Logan Grove, Amanda Berry, and Hannah Harp. Photo by Annie Harman, Osakis Review.1 / 2
The entire Osakis Elementary School cheers on the top readers as they walk the red carpet and load the limo bus to St. Cloud. Photo by Annie Harman, Osakis Review2 / 2

The entire Osakis Elementary School cheered on a small group of students as they walked down the red carpet to load onto a limo bus on Thursday, May 21.

These kids aren’t celebrities or royalty. These kids are readers.

As a part of the school’s Accelerated Reader Challenge, Principal Pat Ryan knew that he wanted to do something big for the top readers in the school.

“We knew we wanted to do something special,” Ryan explained. “But we really didn’t know how big we could make it, so we decided to just see what happens. You just don’t know how it will progress.”

The Accelerated Reader program knows how many words are in each book and awards points based on the level of difficulty the book is. Ryan and other staff members decided that the students who received 250 points would get some sort of special award. Little did they know the power behind some of their readers.

Thirteen students from grades three to six busted through the 250 points goal. Because of this amazing accomplishment, the school decided to give them the red carpet treatment and send them on a special trip to St. Cloud.

After the entire school cheered for their peers as they walked onto the limo bus, the students went to Barnes and Nobles, each with a $25 gift card to spend on new books. They were also treated to a special lunch at Fuji Japanese Steakhouse.

“The best day of school ever,” Mackenzie Fiskness said when asked about the trip. Fiskness is a fifth grader who read seven million words, the top reader in the entire school.

“I think this trip was a lot of fun,” said fourth grader Larissa Hoffarth. “I also think that this trip will make other kids read more to reach their goal.”

Ryan was beaming the entire morning, ear to ear, full of pride for his students and their accomplishment.

“You like to think that they’ll be old and gray and look back on this as a really special day,” Ryan said. “If you’re a good reader and enjoy reading, just think about all the doors that open up for you in life.”

Annie Harman
Annie Harman is a reporter for Echo Press and The Osakis Review. She grew up in Detroit Lakes and graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire with a degree in print journalism and history in May 2012. Follow her on Twitter at annieharman
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