Fall 2015 National Middle School Student Crew Contest Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the Fall 2015 National Middle School Student Crew Contest!

The first-place winner of 2,000 Scholastic Dollars and a personal visit from author Dan Poblocki is:

Excelsior Springs Middle School
Excelsior Springs, MO

Book Fair Chairperson: Kathy Travis
Student Crew Count: 50
Theme: A Beautiful Monstrosity: There’s A Story Behind Every Door
 
What’s in a name? For the Student Crew of Excelsior Middle School, a whole lot! As the first-place winner of the Fall 2015 National Middle School Student Crew Contest, they challenged their school community to name the monster-themed Book Fair, deciding on A Beautiful Monstrosity: There’s a Story Behind Every Door.
 
As the saying goes, you can’t judge a book by its cover, nor should you judge a room by its monster door—especially at Excelsior’s Book Fair! Combining beloved images and characters from the movies Monsters Inc. and Monsters University, the Student Crew recreated the factory scare floor with free-standing doors, which when opened, revealed original stories written by students as part of their schoolwide monster curriculum. Decorations also included ceiling “tracks” and miniature versions of the doors floating along them, scream tanks, and Boo’s bed. Green chairs were turned into Mike Wazowski and blue chairs into Sully, and the blue and green monster footprints led students into the Fair where a life-sized Rozz and balloon arch welcomed shoppers. At the Monster Bash Family Event, shoppers dined on eye-popping monster treats, played scream tank bowling, and got to meet Sully and his pal Boo. Shoppers truly felt like they were stepping into the movie!
 
Their advertising tactics were also from another world, utilizing as many social media outlets as possible, including Animoto, Powtoons, iMovie®, Instagram, Twitter, and more. They promoted the Fair at their schoolwide “Monster Mash” dance; wrote and produced Book Fair commercials; and posed for photographs throughout the Fair with an adorable Book Fair monster named Huggles. Even the local papers featured stories of their Fair, including the slime event where 11 teachers volunteered to be slimed if the school met its Book Fair goal. They did!
 
To top it off, their reading challenges had monster-sized perks. Students could earn Monster Bucks for reading to spend at the Monster Market where student-made bracelets and other goodies were available. In addition, students who donated to the All for Books™ campaign could earn a trip to the Disinfection Station and get showered with 10 Monster Bucks. The Crew used the All for Books donations to purchase books from the Fair for needy families at the local Good Samaritan Center, just in time for the holidays.
 
Thanks to the extreme creativity and commitment of the Student Crew, it wasn’t long before Excelsior students’ screams were turned into energetic smiles, proving that their Fair and their Student Crew truly lived up to its name.


Second-place winners of 1,000 Scholastic Dollars are:

Sammy McClure Middle School
Dallas, GA

Book Fair Chairperson: Rhonda Boggs
Student Crew Count: 30
Theme: Galactic Book Fair: May the Books Be With You
 
The force was strong with Sammy McClure Middle School and their Student Crew during their fall 2015 Book Fair. Riding on the excitement of the Star Wars™ movie release, the Crew incorporated multiple contests, events, and décor sure to reach across the sixth, seventh, and eighth grade galaxies.
 
Shoppers traveled through a black hole, aka the Fair’s entrance, where they were soon met by origami character decorations, moon rocks, and portraits of Star Trekkie administrators. Even the snacks were out of this world—moon pies, Milky Way® candy bars, and SunChips®. This intergalactic Fair celebrated all things space!
 
During Book Fair week, shoppers may have suspected that body snatchers had invaded the school, but it was really just an enthusiastic Student Crew! Posters of teachers-turned-alien plastered the walls, while students sprayed their hair green for Alien Day in return for a donation to All for Books. Additional activities included favorite space character dress up days, space trivia, and the “To Infinity and Beyond Reading Challenge.”
 
Teachers then blasted off to fill their Wish Upon a Star Lists at their Galactic Gathering Teacher Preview while parents helped fill them at the two parent events, the “Parent Invasion” Family Event and Asteroid Attack event.
 
Sammy McClure’s Crew made sure to shoot for the moon and surpassed their $6,000 in books sold goal, landing among the stars and earning the privilege of sliming their principal Mrs. Hayes!

Tahlequah Middle School
Tahlequah, OK

Book Fair Chairperson: Dr. Brenda Maddan
Student Crew Count: 9
Theme: Monster Book Fair
 
Shoppers at Tahlequah Middle School’s Monster Book Fair were screaming with delight as they encountered monsters of every kind lurking around the corners of the Book Fair: mythological, traditional, urban legend, and Monsters Inc. But one monster in particular, the Book Fair Monster, would not be subdued until the Crew had met their Book Fair goal.
 
To bolster their efforts and advertise the Fair, the Crew enlisted the cheer and pom squads to perform Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” while signs, banners, announcements, and social media posts promoted the Fair throughout the entire school.
 
The activities and contests were frightfully good. First, there was a costume contest led by Medusa herself, aka the librarian, Socksquatch Day, and then Hat Day, in honor of Mike Wazowski of Monsters Inc. The Crew also led the game Monster Madness where the Book Fair Monster searched the school for lockers of students who needed books. Three different Donuts for Donations events helped raise money for their All for Books campaign, as did the sale of Monster Bars for $1, raising more than $700 total!
 
But it was their first-ever fall festival that topped it off. Food, games, hayrides, monster photo ops, and shopping at the Book Fair made for a new Tahlequah tradition and one finally appeased Book Fair Monster!

C.W. Davis Middle School
Flowery Branch, GA

Book Fair Chairperson: Christa Holland
Student Crew Count: 60
Theme: The Haunted Book Fair
 
The C.W. Davis Middle School Book Fair was not for the faint of heart! The Student Crew, some of whom were a part of the eighth grade marketing classes, launched a spooky theme the week before Halloween where books went bump in the night. The library was transformed into a cemetery with creepy characters, bats, skulls, boarded up windows, and ghoulish decorations. For Family Night, the Crew dressed in costume, sharing their favorite reads, as well as candy and a few screams while shoppers purchased books for teachers from the student-made Classroom Wish List board.
 
But the biggest part they played in the Book Fair was in a Book Fair commercial, written and directed by the Crew, advertising the Haunted Book Fair and bringing excited shoppers into the Fair. Once inside the haunted walls, they could also vote for one of two administrators by donating to the All for Books campaign. The administrator, whose bucket collected the most donations, had to wear a gorilla suit during lunch. Needless to say, these Crew members did a scary good job of hosting a hauntingly good time!

West Hall Middle School
Oakwood, GA

Book Fair Chairperson: Genia Reid
Student Crew Count: 12
Theme: Mount Everead
 
The Student Crew at West Hall Middle School went to great heights for their fall 2015 Book Fair. Choosing the theme of Mount Everead, the Crew set out on an expedition to build excitement for books and reading, and they were determined to reach the top!
 
The Crew was on a hunt for Big Foot, the elusive inhabitant of Mount Everead, who was furious because someone had taken his book. His massive footprints led the way into the media center where shoppers could find mountains of books at the Fair and a cozy cabin, featuring a reading area complete with a faux fireplace, the perfect place for classes to booktalk and enjoy read-alouds. Dressed in handmade matching Crew T-shirts, they showed the Author Video and made their own video Book Fair advertisements, too.
 
The Crew also ventured out into their business community, enlisting businesses to request donations for teacher wish lists, resulting in more than $300 towards new books in just one month. Teachers then collected money for each grade level—an additional $175—resulting in lots of new books for classroom libraries, hand delivered to the teachers by the students!
 
To top it all off, more than 6,240 reading minutes were tallied from 312 sixth grade students, and sales grew more than 20 percent from their previous year. An exciting feat for this Student Crew!
 


President’s Award for Exceptional Performance winners (who win 500 Scholastic Dollars) are:

President’s Award for Exceptional Performance (All for Books™):
McKamy Middle School

Flower Mound, TX

Book Fair Chairperson: Lucia Gardner
Student Crew Count: 50
Theme: Zombie Book Fair
Playing off the popular game “Plants vs. Zombies,” the Student Crew at McKamy Middle School launched a competitive All for Books campaign where each grade teamed up as one of the character groups from the game. Sixth graders were “plants,” seventh graders were “zombies,” and eighth graders were “survivors.” Each grade then designed a handmade mask depicting their team name and displayed it alongside a five-gallon jug so the student body could vote for their favorite by donating change. Sixth graders won the contest and the principal had to become a part of the plant team by wearing the flower mask. The mask contest raised more than $300 for All for Books, but they didn’t stop there. The Crew also created a lollipop pull in the shape of a brain, raising an additional $600!
 
The librarian chose 80 books from the Fair that the students had identified on their wish lists as their favorites. Without a doubt, this Crew went all in for All for Books!

President’s Award for Exceptional Performance (Theme):
Black Mountain Middle School
San Diego, CA

Book Fair Chairperson: Jodi Haight/Janet Alkema/Celena Jacques
Student Crew Count: 5
Theme: Reading in the Wild
 
Based on the acclaimed book Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller, Black Mountain Middle School’s fall 2015 Book Fair theme combined their focus on independent reading with the monster theme, creating a jungle-like atmosphere where reading monsters lurked behind bookcases and trees alike.
 
A giant monster peeked out of the roof of the library, producing the effect of a larger-than-life monster inside the Fair, while outside the Fair, the Crew made sure to incorporate the theme into every aspect of the school—from the monster decorating door contest and creepy carnival games to a monster pencil pull and eyeball guessing game. But the most important aspect of their Fair theme was encouraging students to choose books that interest them and get them excited about reading. That’s why the Crew made plans to keep working long after the Fair was packed up—coordinating future library events based on the three top-selling books from the Fair: The Zodiac Legacy: Convergence by Stan Lee, The Night Divided by Jennifer Nielsen, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School by Jeff Kinney. For the Crew, the Fair was the perfect opportunity to get their peers the books they wanted and turn them into reading monsters!

President’s Award for Exceptional Performance (Student Engagement):
Fulbright Jr. High School
Bentonville, AR

Book Fair Chairperson: Michele Sterrett
Student Crew Count: 30
Theme: We’re Dying to Read! The Zombies are Coming to the Book Fair!
 
Fulbright Jr. High School should be quarantined—the entire school was dying to read for the fall 2015 Book Fair! The Crew fully embraced the zombie theme and planned a barrage of activities, contests, and events to get every student involved.
 
It all started with a focus on disease and then spread from there. Students wrote zombie-apocalyptic narratives, which they turned into films for a pre-Halloween film festival, walking the “blood red” carpet. They created survival kits and a Zombie Distraction 101 video, then donned themselves like the walking dead for Dead Friday, paying $1 to dress up like a zombie. So many students participated that they gave a prize to each one!
 
The Crew, usually made up of the book club, was larger than ever with kids volunteering to create signs, advertise, dress up, and more. Even after the Fair was over, students continued to visit the library, searching for zombie literature and nonfiction titles about diseases, proving that the Fair spread more than excitement; it spread the desire to read!

President’s Award for Exceptional Performance (Crew Initiative):
Edward Harris Jr. Middle School
Elk Grove, CA

Book Fair Chairperson: Sally White
Student Crew Count: 55
Theme: The Walking Read: Infected With Reading
 
The Student Crew’s enthusiasm for the Book Fair at Edward Harris Jr. Middle School was infectious. For a first-time fall Fair, the librarian tried to set realistic expectations, but thankfully, the Crew exceeded them all! Seventy-one students applied and returning members helped interview and choose the rest, totaling a whopping 55 energetic Crew members.
 
They then divided themselves into teams: promotion and advertising, theme, management, merchandising, inventory, and security.  The Crew management team used Google forms to coordinate schedules, vote on ideas, and assign projects, then lead training sessions for the newest Crew members.
 
Each Crew member took his/her role in the Book Fair very seriously, managing everything before, during, and after the Fair, keeping a very busy Book Fair running extremely smoothly and leaving the shoppers with a healthy dose of excitement for reading! 

President’s Award for Exceptional Performance (Crew Engagement):
Edward Town Middle School
Sanborn, NY

Book Fair Chairperson: Michelle Marino
Student Crew Count: 18
Theme: N/A
 
For the past couple Book Fairs, the Home School Association Parent Group at Edward Town Middle School has used a very specific group of students for their Student Crew. Consisting solely of students from the school’s three special education classes, the Crew takes on important responsibilities throughout the Fair.
 
For this Fair, students counted and rolled coin donations from the All for Books program, as well as bagged purchases, straightened shelves and tables, and helped with advertising and raffles. Each Crew member got a chance to work each job, rotating to a different station every 15 minutes. Students learned valuable life skills related to math, social interaction, and time management. In the end, Crew members wrote up their job experience as part of their “resume” and received class credit. For the Crew, it was an experience they will look forward to every season, and for the school and Book Fair team, the Crew was their favorite part of the Fair. 

President’s Award for Exceptional Performance (Advertising):
Geneva Middle School
Geneva, OH

Book Fair Chairperson: Shari Rooney
Student Crew Count: 79
Theme: Reading Is So Much Fun, It’s Scary!
 
For their fall 2015 Book Fair, the 79-person Student Crew at Geneva Middle School got the word out by shaking it up! As part of their pep rally to kick off their Reading Is So Much, It’s Scary! Fair, 76 members of the Crew performed a choreographed dance as zombies to a version of Michael Jackson’s song “Thriller.” The dance began with one student reading a book, who soon found himself surrounded by zombies. He eventually turned into a zombie himself!  The three minute and 46 second routine generated a lot of excitement for the Fair among the students and teachers alike, bringing the Crew together in harmony and helping the Fair more than double its sales goal!