Winners of the Fall 2017 National Elementary School Contest

Congratulations to the Winners of the
Fall 2017 National Elementary School Contest!

The First-Place Winner of 2,000 Scholastic Dollars™ and a personal visit from author Dav Pilkey is:

John W. Evans Elementary School
Oviedo, FL
Book Fair Chairperson: Ada Torres
Theme: Wild West Book Fair

John W. Evans Elementary set a goal of engaging the school staff and students in their western-inspired Book Fair by planning many fun-filled activities. Organizers met with the PTA and Shine committee to brainstorm games, food, entertainment, and decorating ideas. Then the school used Sign-up Genius and recruited former students, teachers, and their local high school’s English Honor Society members. They recruited 72 volunteers!

Evans started spreading the Book Fair news by making daily Evans News announcements and sharing the Author Video commercials with everyone. Next, they distributed flyers to parents during Curriculum Nights, used Skyward messages, sent letters home to families, and posted Book Fair information on their PTA and school Facebook pages. In-school promotions included bulletin boards, classroom countdown calendars, and signs. Patrols and staff shared Book Fair reminders in the hallways, teachers and administrators gave book talks, and a local police officer promoted the Book Fair in the car line. 

The school hosted three days of Book Fair Previews and planned clever Book Fair week activities to keep up the exciting Fair momentum. Their art teacher gave drawing lessons on Dav Pilkey’s characters Captain Underpants and Dog Man. Students were also taught a country line dance, dubbed “Evans Dance,” that they enjoyed teaching and practicing in the hallways in the morning and at dismissal.

For their Family Night, the elementary was transformed into “Evans Ranch,” complete with a covered wagon and horses. The main event was a hoedown with live country music provided by the school’s music teacher. The evening included popcorn, carnival games with prizes, a photo booth, and book giveaways. Local community sponsors donated family meal certificates. 

After just experiencing Hurricane Irma, John W. Evans Elementary’s fun and inspiring celebration of books could not have come at a better time for the community. Their Book Fair reached $16,047.94 in sales (or, was a tremendous success), and not only helped put more books in more students’ hands but provided some much-needed fun. Scholastic Book Fairs® is thrilled to award them first-place in the Fall 2017 National Elementary School Contest!

Second-Place Winners of 1,000 Scholastic Dollars are:

St. Timothy’s Christian Academy
San Jose, CA
Book Fair Chairperson: Christine Hindenes
Theme: Toy Story Book Fair

St. Timothy’s Christian Academy’s entire school was involved in the success of their Book Fair. Since the school had already held a western-themed Fair, they decided to change things up and planned a Toy Story-themed one instead. Their school secretary created Bo-peep, Jesse, and Wayne costumes for staff and volunteers. Then the walls of the Fellowship Hall were covered with students’ Book Fair artwork, encouraging families to visit. 

The school’s 5th grade students took on huge responsibilities! They wrote Book Fair-themed stories and read them to classes throughout the week. Then they hosted and performed in the St. Timothy’s Thursday Night Family Event. 

After a successful Book Fair week that also included a Preview Morning for Teachers and Students, Grandparent’s Day, and Movie Night, St. Timothy’s was able to purchase $800 in new books for the Caesar Chavez School library and a Mexican orphanage. 

Saint Mark Catholic School
Southwest Ranches, FL
Book Fair Chairperson: Sandy Garcia and Danielle McConnell
Theme: Rodeo in the Ranches: Rope Up a Good Book!

The Book Fair at Saint Mark Catholic School was all about trying out new ideas, specifically with events. After spreading the word with an extensive promotional campaign, the school hosted their first-ever “Grand Opening Event” where a “cut the rope” ceremony was performed by the town’s mayor and local councilwoman. The turnout was incredible, and the school made $3,200 in two hours! Saint Mark also reached out to families including younger students with a “Pre-K Books for Buckaroos Event,” inviting parents to come shop with their little ones at the Fair. In an effort to boost the Online Fair sales, the school held an “Online Grand Event” with a contest bonus. They awarded a special lunch to the two students with the highest online sales. It turned out to be the highest online sales the school has ever experienced! 

With 50 volunteers and their new idea strategy, nothing – even Hurricane Irma – stopped Saint Mark Catholic School from sharing the love of reading!

Joseph Henry Elementary School
Galway, NY
Book Fair Chairperson: Emma Obern
Theme: Wild West Book Fair

Volunteers at Joseph Henry Elementary School were determined to bring their school district and community together for a fun, celebration of reading. They planned a comprehensive advertising campaign. Multiple flyers and posters went to all District K-12 students and the community and were posted on their community websites and Facebook pages as well. Students watched the Author Video, played Book Fair Bingo, and were reminded daily by a school lobby display and countdown sign.

After fully embracing the Wild West theme with amazing decorations, volunteers welcomed everyone to their Family Fun Night, featuring activities such as: rope demonstrations and lessons, pool noodle pony barrel races, teepee decorating, TNT box stacking game, pin the moustache on the cowboy, and large-scale Tic-Tac-Toe! The night also included story time, guessing games, and book basket raffles. With so much to do, students were spurred on to read even more!

Big Bend Elementary
Big Bend, WI
Book Fair Chairperson: Julie Kastello
Theme: Wild West Book Fair

Big Bend Elementary blazed new frontiers with their Wild West Book Fair! First, they strategically scheduled their Fair to coincide with Grandparent Lunch Week. The school then promoted the Fair with Open House activities, social media posts, a parent newsletter, signage, televised commercials, and flyers. 

The school let their invaluable resource – the Student Council – take the lead with programs and at events. During the Fair, they greeted, directed, and assisted visitors. Next, Big Bend streamlined their All for Books Coin Drive collection process and prize structure, letting the Student Council handle most of the challenge. The principal starred in a promotional video where he rode a buckin’ bronco and promised to line dance if the students raised more than $1,000 for All for Books. The grand total raised was $2,547!

Hosting their Fair during Grandparent Lunch Week contributed to a 16% jump in sales! Students had a rootin’ tootin’ reading time, and the school used their profits to purchase library books and items for their MakerSpace program. 

President’s Award for Exceptional Performance (Advertising)
Keith Elementary
West Bloomfield, MI
Book Fair Chairperson: Leigh Shemenski
Theme: Wild West Book Fair

From letters home to skits, the volunteers at Keith Elementary orchestrated a big advertising push to ignite the love of reading and build Book Fair excitement among their students. Volunteers sent home notifications with students, posted information on the school website and PTA Facebook page, sent emails to parents, and included details in the principal’s weekly newsletter. On the school campus, volunteers made announcements, posted signs inside and outside the school, and had their mascot work the car line with a Fair sign. One week before the Fair, volunteers conducted book talks in each classroom. Then two theatrical parents performed skits about the All for Books contest during student lunches. Keith’s Book Fair committee’s ad campaign led to a successful Book Fair, helping kids lasso up some good books while raising money for the media center.

Elementary President’s Award for Exceptional Performance (All for Books™)
Castle Heights 

Los Angeles, CA
Book Fair Chairperson: Roz Gallet
Theme: Wild West Book Fair

Castle Heights Elementary took their All for Books program to a whole new level! Their savvy marketing volunteers streamlined the All for Books donation process with an easy “grab and give” campaign for the school’s “Classroom Showdown.” They created barcoded tickets of $2, $5, $10, and $20 donation levels and displayed them prominently at the cashier and “recommended reads” tables. At checkout, customers simply handed the cashier their tickets to scan. It resulted in fast point-of-sale conversions and record-breaking donations! The school had 100% class participation and raised $1,850 in receipts. Their exclusive Barcoded Ticket Campaign increased All for Books awareness and simplified the process!

Elementary President’s Award for Exceptional Performance (Decorations)
Valley View Elementary School

Poway, CA
Book Fair Chairperson: Tracy McCullouch
Theme: Wild West Book Fair

Volunteers at Valley View Elementary created theater-worthy, Wild West Book Fair décor, transforming the library from top to bottom and carrying the theme throughout the school. They used historical photos of the American West and a trip to an authentic Wild West compound for their inspiration. 

Decorators turned the library into a trading post filled with saddles, lassos, serape blankets, cowhides, and steamer trunks. The walls were covered with Native American-inspired teepee designs. Each classroom painted fabric panels and kindergarten students painted rocks to include in the designs. The Book Fair centerpiece was a covered wagon, complete with authentic wagon wheels! Doorways throughout the school were decorated with Wild West silhouettes and the outside was turned into a life-like gold mine entrance. Because parents and students took so much pride in the Fair they created, they returned multiple times to buy more books!

Elementary President’s Award for Exceptional Performance (Family Event)
Southeast Elementary 

Sycamore, IL
Book Fair Chairperson: Michelle Wisenhut
Theme: Wild West Book Fair

For their Wild West Book Fair Family Event, organizers at Southeast Elementary went all out and threw a “Book Fair Bonanza!” They promoted it via their principal’s email and librarian’s social media. To kick off the festivities, students were invited to “Dress Like a Cowpoke” the day of the event. The evening was filled with a photo op featuring a saddle and stand from a local stable, barbeque food truck, and scavenger hunt. An armadillo mascot and staff from the Texas Roadhouse restaurant gave line dancing lessons throughout the night. Awards for “Build your own Wild West scene” were handed out, and students received tickets at each activity to use to win prizes! Some of the prizes included free meals and a gift basket from Texas Roadhouse as well as a horseback riding lesson from a local stable. Southeast really rounded up the whole local community to create an incredible reading event!

Elementary President’s Award for Exceptional Performance (Grand Event)
Raye McCoy Elementary 

Georgetown, TX
Book Fair Chairperson: Janae Pierce
Theme: Wild West Book Fair

Raye McCoy Elementary made “community near and far” the focus of their Book Fair. Not only did they raise $1,200 for another elementary that lost its entire school during Hurricane Harvey, but they reached out to all of their local community for one of their Book Fair week events. For their “Cowboy Cookout” Grand Event, organizers invited over 200 grands, parents, and community members to eat outdoors and then shop the Fair. In two hours, the school raised $5,000! Raye McCoy’s Book Fair events were not only fun ways to rally around reading but a way to give back to a community in need

Elementary President’s Award for Exceptional Performance (Junior Crew)
Black Rock Elementary 

Erie, CO
Book Fair Chairperson: Midge Andras
Theme: Wild West Book Fair

The 5th grade students ran the show at Black Rock Elementary’s Wild West Book Fair!
And because they were so excited about the National Contest prize, they decided to incorporate Captain Underpants and Dog Man into their Book Fair plans. First, they voted for their favorite decorating ideas to transform the library into the Wild West. To make sure everyone played a part, Kindergarten-3rd grade students colored boots while 4th and 5th graders created the main decorations, including designing and building a photo booth. Students then planned a “Cowboy Hat Day”, a crazy “Kiss a Pig” principal stunt, and of course, a “Panning for Gold with Dav Pilkey” Family Event activity. It was the best Book Fair in terms of student participation and money raised for All for Books! Black Rock’s Junior Crew learned leadership skills and served as reading role models as they encouraged other students to saddle up and read!  

Elementary President’s Award for Exceptional Performance (Student Engagement)
Bodine School

Germantown, TN
Book Fair Chairperson: Pam Stein
Theme: Wild West Book Fair

Bodine School’s Book Fair was an all-encompassing, school-wide event highlighting their commitment to helping students with dyslexia to read and succeed. Students were engaged in the Book Fair every step of the way, from creating décor to providing entertainment. First and second grade students constructed horse puppets and special paper sacks for the teacher wish list contributions. Third and fourth graders created cowboy, cowgirl, and horse decorations while fifth grade students made covered wagons. During Book Fair week, classes completed themed coloring sheets, puzzles, and “WANTED” posters. Then students performed a musical program for the Grandparents and Special Friends Day. Bodine volunteers really knew how to get kids on board with the Fair and reading – get students involved in all the details, making the Fair their own!

Elementary President’s Award for Exceptional Performance (What Would You Do For Reading? ®)
Holy Spirit Regional Catholic School

Huntsville, AL
Book Fair Chairperson: Anna Whited Nicoly
Theme: Wild West Book Fair

To help motivate students and their school community, Holy Spirit Catholic School broke their overall Book Fair goal up into different tiers. Their principal promised to wear a cowboy hat and speak with a Wild West accent if the school met the first goal. Then the principal vowed to dress as a cow and get lassoed by the All for Books coin drive winning team for the second goal. For the next goal, she had to kiss a live pig. Then, the principal road a mechanical bull. And if the school reached the big goal, the award was a faculty versus students kickball game. All of these fun incentives led to some hefty competition, fantastic sales, and most importantly – books were put in the hands of their children!