Spring 2015 National Middle School Contest Winners

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


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

Sammy McClure Middle School
Dallas, GA

Book Fair Chairperson: Rhonda Boggs
Student Crew Count: 36
Theme: Booklympus: Be Your Own Hero

The book gods were smiling on Sammy McClure Middle School this year as they carefully and creatively planned and executed another very successful Book Fair! With 36 Crew members, as well as teachers and parents, the library was transformed into Olympus, from the marble doors and Greek columns welcoming shoppers into the library, to the hand-painted, horse-drawn chariots and ivy-covered columns inside. Photos of every teacher dressed in a toga covered the walls denoting his/her Greek, god-given gift. Throughout the school, every class decorated their door in Greek-themed décor and dressed the part for Toga Day, Greek God/Goddess Day, and Mythical Creature Day.

But it wasn’t just the decorations and theme that got everyone at Sammy McClure on board for the Fair—the Student Crew also devised an extensive promotion campaign, tying in multiple incentives and activities for students to engage with the Book Fair. Their campaign included sandwich boards, phone blasts, daily announcements, and booktalks, and, in a unique twist, Facebook pages created by literature students for each of the Greek gods and goddesses. Not a minute went by without the students and faculty engaging in a theme-related reading activity or message. Teachers excitedly attended the Olympic Opa Teacher Preview with Greek-themed food, activities, and even music. Families celebrated reading at the Baklava Bash and Greek Festival. They even invited former Student Crew members called SCAM (Student Crew Alumni Member) and a local elementary school to join in the fun. Teachers also got involved during the Olympic Opa Teacher Preview, where they ate themed food (hero sandwiches, Greek yogurt, and more), played Greek games to win prizes, and filled out Classroom Wish Lists.

Contests included everything from mythology trivia, a Hero Reading Challenge, Guess the Greek Number, and more with enticing prizes. Another popular activity was Artemis’ Archery where students paid $1 to participate and the money went to All for Books, collecting $260 in donations. But the biggest incentive of all was a visit from Chris Conley, a former North Paulding High School and University of Georgia football player who became known as the Workout Warrior at the NFL scouting combine. Students who made a $40 purchase attended an intimate meet-and-greet with him after the schoolwide assembly. His visit boosted Book Fair sales tremendously, helping Sammy McClure surpass their goal by more than $2,000. When the goal was reached, the principal dressed like a Greek goddess!

This multifaceted Book Fair put Sammy McClure over the top—in sales and in participation—thanks to the “Herculean effort” by their stellar Student Crew. Scholastic Book Fairs is honored to award them First Place of the Spring 2015 National Middle School Student Crew Contest for their Booklympus Book Fair, where myths became a reality and everyone was a reading hero!

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

Lake Nona Middle School
Orlando, FL

Book Fair Chairperson: Andrea Parisi
Student Crew Count: 15
Theme: The Walking Read: Dying for a Great Book

Hold onto your hats… and your brains! The Lake Nona Middle School 2015 Spring Book Fair was frightfully creative, playing on the popularity of zombies with the theme The Walking Read: Dying for a Great Book. Zombies took over the school in a “zombies take over Manhattan” décor, while students showed their school spirit and love for reading by participating in multiple contests and dress-up days. The theme continued into the Teacher Preview, a Grand Event, and a special themed event with Dead City author James Ponti called “Read and Feed” where the whole school was encouraged to read the book in preparation for the author visit. The school also raised more than $700 in All for Books donations!

Amidst all the gory fun, the true goal of the Student Crew was to promote the importance of reading. Teachers “zombified” their favorite literary character, and their “Blind Date with a Book” program during Literacy Week encouraged students and faculty to read a book, wrap it like a present, and write a short booktalk that could be printed and placed on the front. The books were then made available throughout the month of February as “blind dates” as a way to introduce new genres to participants.

The school surpassed their dollar amount goal by nearly $1,300 and the faculty with the most All for Books donations got duct taped! It’s clear to see that at Lake Nona Middle School the reading culture is alive and well.

Pottsville Middle Grades
Pottsville, AR

Book Fair Chairperson: Melissa Moudy
Student Crew Count: 23
Theme: Level Up at the Book Fair

The Student Crew at Pottsville Middle Grades really upped their game for their 2015 Spring Book Fair. The 23-person Crew created a Super Mario Bros. world where students, faculty, families, and the community were encouraged to “Level Up at the Book Fair.” When shoppers walked into the library, they walked into a digitized video game world with gold coins, clouds, toadstools, and blooper bad guys, even mimicking the old-school font used in the game throughout all of their décor and advertising!

But their creativity didn’t stop there. The Crew designed original posters to advertise the Fair and hung them throughout the school, along with utilizing social media, the school’s website, and the marquee. Their All for Books goal scored off the charts, raising five times more money than the previous Book Fair thanks to the innovative incentives—a video game party in the library, a fun photo booth, and a What Would You Do for Reading?® challenge where the principal had to kiss Tusk, the Arkansas Razorback mascot, a live wild pig.

And in addition to the grandparent’s breakfast, the Crew decided for the first time to invite a nearby preschool for a Meet Clifford the Big Red Dog event, increasing sales while also mentoring younger children about the importance of reading. All in all, this Book Fair was definitely a winner and the Student Crew were major players in making it happen!

Stayton Middle School
Stayton, OR

Book Fair Chairperson: Tammy Baxter
Student Crew Count: 16
Theme: Book Fair Under the Sea

Stayton Middle School took their Book Fair under the sea, and the results were out of this world! For four months, the Student Crew exhausted all advertising and planning efforts, attending a live workshop then collaborated with other schools to devise the best possible Book Fair campaign ever for their school.

The library truly became an underwater world as “waves” with ocean-life silhouettes draped across the ceiling, and blue Christmas lights twinkled like the sun glinting on water. Crew members, along with grandparent volunteers and staff, dove right in to create top-notch decorations, including a life preserver ring toss, full-sized mermaids, and a coral entrance that even Nemo would happily call home. A themed grandparents lunch and family fun night, along with three different photo ops, brought families together and into the Book Fair for tons of shopping, resulting in a 64% increase in sales over the prior year, making it one of Stayton’s most successful Book Fairs yet.

Excelsior Springs Middle School
Excelsior Springs, MO

Book Fair Chairperson: Kathy Travis
Student Crew Count: 50
Theme: Sea of Knowledge

Excelsior Springs Middle School began planning for their BOGO 2015 Book Fair even before their fall Book Fair was complete! As a “Buy One, Get One Free” Book Fair, their Sea of Knowledge themed Fair was geared toward promoting summer reading and the Student Crew stopped at nothing to get the word out. The 50-person Crew began by initiating a full-blown social media campaign, advertising on the school website, classroom blogs, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Animoto, Storify, and Powtoon. If it was online, they were on it! Teachers were also encouraged to advertise digitally, as well as create a print advertisement to promote summer reading, and decorate their classroom doors.

The Crew really wanted to make an impact that would last all summer long and they did so in leaps, bounds, and lots of books! The All for Books campaign planning started in March as the Crew brainstormed creative challenges and contests to engage the entire student body. Students created boxes and became campaign managers to raise money for the highly relished role of ship captain or princess mermaid for the Fair. In addition, they built a pirate’s wheel of prizes, charging $1 for each spin. The proceeds from the many contests, along with a $100 donation from their local RiteWay, helped purchase 166 books for the local Good Samaritan Center, a program where underprivileged children can have access to books over the summer.

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

East Valley Middle School
East Helena, MT

Book Fair Chairperson: Judy Salisbury
Student Crew Count: 33
Theme: MasqueREAD Ball

President’s Award for Exceptional Performance (Community Outreach):
The Student Crew at East Valley went above and beyond its four walls with their MasqueREAD Ball Book Fair this year, inviting local Scholastic author Ben Mikaelsen who wrote Jungle of Bones, a book focusing on World War II fighter pilots, and local veterans as the guests of honor at a one-of-a-kind Book Fair special event. The Crew and student council devised multiple fundraisers to host the event, including a coin challenge, mask sales, and profits from ticket sales for the school’s annual Sweetheart Dance. They attended the local veterans of Foreign Wars to advertise the event and personally invite the veterans. The next day, one of the veterans showed up at the school with a check to purchase copies of Mikaelsen’s book to give as prizes.

On March 19, the Crew hosted these special guests, serving them a delectable feast and giving them a personalized meet and greet with Mikaelsen. Afterward, the veterans visited the classrooms, sharing stories and memorabilia, before heading to the gym for a special presentation by Mickaelsen. The Crew and staff used the Book Fair in a way like none other—to honor those who have served their country and to emphasize the importance of telling their story.

East Paulding Middle School
Dallas, GA

Book Fair Chairperson: Kara Bechtel
Student Crew Count: 14
Theme: Finding Nemo and Dory (An Underwater Adventure)

President’s Award for Exceptional Performance (Student Engagement):
No one was left out of the East Paulding Middle School Book Fair, Finding Nemo and Dory (An Underwater Adventure)! The Student Crew involved every student in the school, encouraging them to participate in their own unique way, sharing their talent or passion as it related to reading and the Book Fair theme. The Science Club took a trip to swim with the manatees in Florida and “swam” their Air Swimmer shark throughout the school to advertise the Fair. Art students decorated the halls with unique sea creatures, noting their characteristics and “Did You Know?” facts, and also creating tiki masks and intricate drawings. The business and tech classes created PowerPoint® presentations of sea creatures, and the Robotics Club brought the jellyfish decorations to life thanks to their innovative LEGO® invention, which made them jump and wiggle about! The Spanish classes made sea décor as well, labeling each item with its name in Spanish. And homeroom classes created sea creatures out of homemade items like “The Sockness Monster,” a creature made out of white socks and decorations. Even the physical education classes played a dodgeball game with a twist, renaming it “Shark Attack.”

And the faculty was just as involved! Their offices were covered in green “algae” that grew as the Book Fair sales increased, and the losing administrator had to eat sardines and gummy fish blended into a milkshake as part of the school’s What Would You Do for Reading? challenge. It goes without saying that East Paulding left no coral unturned when it came to engaging every student in the Book Fair!

Tahlequah Middle School
Tahlequah, OK

Book Fair Chairperson: Brenda L. Maddan
Student Crew Count: 10
Theme: Willy Wonka Book Fair … Pure Imagination

President’s Award for Exceptional Performance (Decorations):
Walking into the Tahlequah Middle School library was like walking straight into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. From the “brick” walkway to the factory door and the Wonkavision room, to the Wonkatania boat sailing down the chocolate river, no detail was left off the list. The Classroom Wish List board held Golden Tickets for the teachers, and the Book Fair goal chart was a coat rack with hands! Bubbles escaped from a bubble machine just like the Fizzy Lifting Drink machine, and a blueberry Violet Beauregarde watched as the Oompa Loompas worked away in the sugar factory. The Student Crew created, replicated, and executed all of these amazingly sweet decorations, while also running the entire fair and still keeping up with their schoolwork. And to top it off, they not only surpassed their goal of books sold, but also collected a record of more than $1,000 for the All for Books program. For Tahlequah, this Crew definitely deserves the Golden Ticket!

George Junior High
Rosenberg, TX

Book Fair Chairperson: Jeannine Hillis
Student Crew Count: 30
Theme: The Most Amazing Book Fair

President’s Award for Exceptional Performance (Reading Activity):
This year’s Book Fair at George Junior High lived up to its theme and then some, breaking all records, increasing profits by 50%, and selling 252 books, up 190 books from last year. But it’s not just what they did; it’s how they did it. The Student Crew and Book Fair chairperson devised a clever reading program, calling it “Read It Forward.” Purchasing 35 copies of Trent Reedy’s book, If You’re Reading This, the chairperson handed them out to two classes. After the students finished the books, the Student Crew wrapped the books in pretty paper then hid them in new classrooms. The students searched for their “presents,” read the book, took a Reading Counts test, signed the inside cover, and then passed it on. Every student who read the book and passed the test was eligible for the end of the year “If You’re Eating This” party where they discussed the book and ate ice cream sundaes. Not only did it sell more books than ever before, it got the whole school reading and talking about books!

Hillsboro Middle School
Hillsboro, KS

Book Fair Chairperson: Janet Whisenhunt
Student Crew Count: 15

President’s Award for Exceptional Performance (Advertising):
The Student Crew at Hillsboro Middle School stepped outside the box for their Book Fair advertising campaign—literally! Armed with brightly colored chalk, the Student Crew adorned the school campus sidewalks with eye-popping designs and catchy slogans for their advertising event called “Chalk the Walk.” With the school’s approval, the Student Crew, who were also members of the school Book Club, covered the front sidewalks with colorful decorations and information about the upcoming Book Fair, including slogans like “Read 4 Life,” “Rock the Books,” “I Love Books,” as well as dates, times, and the location. The entire school couldn’t help but follow the way to the Book Fair, increasing traffic well above last year and their sales by nearly $500. They definitely got the word out by getting it outside!

MOT Charter School
Middletown, DE

Book Fair Chairperson: Kristina Melnick
Student Crew Count: 30
Theme: Under the Sea

President’s Award for Exceptional Performance (Crew Engagement):
MOT Charter School’s Student Crew was one for the books, but thirty in Crew members. The Crew was divided into four committees: decorations, advertising, setup, and customer service, though many participated in more than one. They brainstormed, planned, executed, and wrapped up the entire Fair from start to finish, including creative and engaging booktalk presentations and daily morning announcements. The MOT Charter School Book Fair would not have been the success it was without its stellar Crew and its sales proved it, increasing more than $1,100 from the previous year.

Parkview Junior High
Lawrenceville, IL

Book Fair Chairperson: Marie Lakin
Student Crew Count: 28
Theme: Under the Sea

President’s Award for Exceptional Performance (Crew Initiative):
Twenty-eight students strong, the Parkview Junior High Student Crew helped achieve the school’s most successful Book Fair ever. It had been two years since the last Book Fair and the Student Crew couldn’t wait to get started. They began planning as early as October for the Spring Book Fair, creating a dream board, envisioning all the possibilities their Under the Sea theme could be. They paid for their own Crew shirts, and went out on their own accord into the community to advertise the Fair with posters, newspaper articles, and even radio announcements. They planned a Saturday morning family day where they had face painting for the younger children while the parents shopped. The Book Fair chairperson happily admitted she did not have to hang up a piece of decoration or worry about not having volunteers—her Crew took care of everything without having to be asked! They truly exemplified the term go-getter and are worthy of the President’s Award for Exceptional Performance.

Maryville Junior High
Maryville, TN

Book Fair Chairperson: Alicia Luttrell
Student Crew Count: 11
Theme: Marvel-ous Scholastic Book Fair

President’s Award for Exceptional Performance (Theme):
Maryville Junior High’s 11-person Student Crew started their Marvel-ous Book Fair off with a BAM! and a POW! As individual super heroes, these students chose a theme which really connected to the students and coordinated with the release of the newest cinematic extravaganza, The Avengers. In turn, the Crew produced a full-length commercial video advertising the Fair in which they wrote and starred in, wearing handmade T-shirt costumes. Décor included a custom Classroom Wish List featuring Thor’s hammer, cut-outs of superheroes and original comic drawings by students, “webs” from Spider-Man, and much more. Word spread quickly thanks to the fantastic execution of the Fair theme as students, teachers, and families alike pounded down the doors to the Book Fair, proving that not all superheroes wear capes, and all of them read books.