Spring 2016 National Middle School Contest Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the Spring 2016 National Middle School Contest!

The First-Place Winner of 2,000 Scholastic Dollars and a personal visit from authors Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm is:

Sammy McClure Middle School
Dallas, GA
Chairperson: Rhonda Boggs
Student Crew Count: 26
Theme: Rumble in the Jungle: Read Like a Beast


Welcome to the jungle—or in the case of the Spring 2016 National Middle School Student Crew Contest—welcome to Sammy McClure Middle School! Chairperson Rhonda Boggs and her Student Crew of 26 members created yet another first-place winning Book Fair with the theme Rumble in the Jungle: Read Like a Beast.
 
Walking into the media center, shoppers navigated their way through exotic creatures hiding among the jungle trees and vines, including a gigantic toucan and snake, which led to a massive waterfall. Posters lining the ceiling revealed the teachers’ wild sides using an app that turned their faces into animals. But the décor didn’t stop there! Students dressed in camouflage, animal print, and safari gear paraded throughout the school while art students painted faces, creating a schoolwide jungle effect and getting everyone excited to come to the Fair.
 
Student-made promotional videos advertised the Book Fair, as did the school website, phone blasts, social media, book talks, and even teachers wearing sandwich boards in the car line.
 
Teachers were ready to pounce on the Book Fair at the Jungle Jam Teacher Preview where they chowed down on zebra cakes, carnivore chow, monkey bread, tiger tails, animal crackers, and more. They worked together as a pack, completing their Classroom Wish Lists to ensure their classroom libraries were updated with the latest and greatest titles.
 
Two Family Events—Monkey Madness and Animal Adventure—enticed parents and families to visit the tropical Book Fair. Once inside, multiple contests and activities engaged students and their elementary school siblings, while their annual SCAM (Student Crew Alumni Member) event celebrated past Student Crew members. Shoppers donated $1 to try their hand at shooting foam arrows for the hunting game Predator vs. Prey, raising $300 for the All for Books™ campaign, which went to purchase books about bullying for the school guidance counselors. The Student Crew also created a King of the Jungle Reading Challenge, Banana Eating Contest, Jungle Book Character Contest, daily trivia, and a jungle art contest.
 
Teachers and faculty got in on the Book Fair action, too! Tarzan sounds echoed through the halls as teachers gave their best Tarzan yell on the live news each morning, and the winner of the Top of the Food Chain Administrative War, their version of the What Would You Do for Reading?® challenge, had to drink “Amazon river water” on the morning news, a murky concoction of coffee, coconut, milk, spinach, bananas, and fish! To top it off, the principal, a devoted Auburn University graduate and fan, agreed to wear University of Georgia and University of Alabama spirit gear if the school met its Book Fair sales goals. They did!
 
The students, faculty, and families at Sammy McClure Middle School would all agree that it was a jungle out there for reading at their first-place winning spring 2016 Book Fair!
 

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

Stayton Middle School
Stayton, OR
Chairperson: Tammy Baxter
Student Crew Count: 19
Theme: Enchanted Forest Book Fair
 


The Student Crew at Stayton Middle School made stories and characters come to life as shoppers walked into their Enchanted Forest Book Fair, where unicorns, gnomes, Alice in Wonderland, dragons, fairies, and more came together to get kids excited about books. The decorations were from another land—a forest tunnel surrounded by fairy tale characters, a bean-bag-toss frog pond, doors transformed into ancient gates, and the centerpieces, a full-sized, free-standing fairy tree, complete with twinkling lights, as well as a two-story Rapunzel tower!
 
The 19-member Student Crew began meeting weeks before the Fair, collaborating with adult volunteers, setting their work schedules, and planning out details. They advertised systematically, sending multiple flyers for different events at staggered days, including invitations to events. There were posters, social media posts, newsletter articles, a countdown display, and morning announcements to boot, as well as showings of the Author Video.
 
They welcomed more than 60 grandparents at the Grandparent’s Lunch, inviting local law enforcement officers to help serve lunch, and hosted a Book Fair Family Night during parent/teacher conferences. There was a dragon dart game, a book walk, an enchanted bean guessing game, a bookmark craft table, and prizes, of course!
 
The Crew combined their sales goal and All for Books campaign with their What Would You Do for Reading? challenge, asking shoppers to donate $1 to choose if the principal would dress up as a fairy or get made into a human sundae. In the end, they not only surpassed their sales goal of 900 books by 43 books, they raised $101.01 for All for Books. The principal dressed up as a fairy for the day, showing the entire school that fairy tales can come true at the Book Fair!
 

East Paulding Middle School
Dallas, GA
Chairperson: Kara Bechtel
Student Crew Count: 10
Theme: Inside Out
 
The spring 2016 Book Fair at East Paulding Middle School had all the feels—literally! Their theme, based on the animated movie Inside Out, incorporated the beloved characters depicting feelings, such as joy, anger, sadness, disgust, and fear.
 
Planning started with advertising. From flyers and bulletin boards to social media posts, banners, and posters, the 10-member Student Crew made sure the school community would remember to come to the Book Fair.
 
Incorporating the Inside Out theme into each class’s curriculum also helped a great deal in getting students excited about the Fair. The week before the Fair arrived, each homeroom was given “memory orbs” and students were instructed to describe common memories that related to each of the feelings. The orbs were then used as decorations along the walls of the Fair to mimic the long-time-memory shelves from the movie. Additionally, homerooms were also tasked to create a unique emotional character and then vote on their favorite. Each winning grade level won $10 to spend at the Fair for their classroom library. Art classes studied abstract art; business education wrote letters about feelings; home education made pizzas and studied emotional health; and so on.
 
The exploration of emotions and fun continued throughout Book Fair week as students participated in numerous contests, including a memory ball guessing game, an imaginary friend drawing contest, an emotional story contest, dress-up days, poster giveaways, guess the teacher, and a scavenger hunt for plush Inside Out characters. To get families involved, they also asked parents to send in family pictures to represent Family Island from the movie. The first 25 kids to do so won a prize.
 
Other places depicted throughout the school were the main character Riley’s subconscious, abstract thought, and the Train of Thought leading shoppers into the Fair. Characters exclaimed funny reading messages and shoppers found themselves transported to the brain headquarters, also known as the media center, where they found the core memory holder, the emotion’s control panel, and a recreation of the pizza shop, complete with broccoli pizza and sad pears!
 
For students and faculty alike, it is safe to say that they experienced a wide range of emotions at East Paulding Middle School’s spring 2016 Book Fair, but mostly, they experienced joy, creating memories that will last a lifetime!
 
Tahlequah Middle School
Tahlequah, OK
Chairperson: Dr. Brenda Maddan
Student Crew Count: 10
Theme: Wonderland Book Fair
 
It was a Wonderland Book Fair at Tahlequah Middle School where despite the Red Queen’s attempts, it was books that ruled the week. Things kicked off with a performance of “The Jabberwocky” by the middle school choir, and promotions via social media, banners, and daily announcements kept the excitement stirring.
 
Soon, Wonderland began to assemble before the school’s eyes with intricate classroom door designs and a Book Fair entrance complete with a full-sized tree, showing just the bottoms of Alice’s feet as she tumbled down the rabbit hole. Shoppers joined Alice entering the Wonderland world, full of artistic representations of the classic story’s favorite characters: the Mad Hatter, the Caterpillar, the playing cards, the Cheshire Cat, and more. The Classroom Wish List display was a gigantic hat and a faux brick wall with ivy and a heart-shaped walkway added to the magical ambiance. Teachers enjoyed a Tea Party Luncheon as a sneak peek to the Fair.
 
Each Book Fair day was different—after all, it was Wonderland! For a donation to the All for Books campaign, students could dress up during Tweedle Twin Day, Mad Hatter Day, and Costume Day. There were also Donuts for Donations and “Eat Me” chocolate bars, which contained tickets inside the wrapper to play flamingo croquet. The total donations were used for books for students who received a ticket from the Locker Lottery, a secret system devised to ensure students who couldn’t afford a book at the Fair would receive one.
 
And for the first time ever, students participated in the March Madness Reading Challenge, where students totaled more than 303,794 minutes read! The winning grade received a party on the patio, and the entire school was invited to enjoy the main event, a Basketball Buyout between the teachers and eighth-grade students.
 
Overall, the school sold a fantastical 1039 books, surpassing their goal and making sure that students left with some great books … and their heads!
 
J.E.J. Moore Middle School
Disputanta, VA
Chairperson: Cindy Leonard
Student Crew Count: 35
Theme: Make Reading YOUR Superpower! Vol. 2
 
Superheroes come in all shapes and sizes and at J.E.J. Moore Middle School, they came in droves to the Book Fair!
 
Calling all superheroes and super readers, the principal sent out a phone blast and schoolwide text messages to advertise the Fair and all of the exciting activities the Student Crew had planned, as well as advertising the online Fair.
 
The Student Crew transformed the media center into the superhero headquarters. Walls were adorned with city skylines, fun comic-style action words, favorite superhero characters, and even original superheroes created by students and faculty. The Teacher Preview welcomed teachers to complete their Classroom Wish Lists while munching on Super Snacks, and students previewed the Fair while participating in several contests for a monetary donation, including Guess How Many GREAT Gumballs and Find the Kryptonite, a superhero-themed lollipop pull. The money raised went to the Fair’s All for Books campaign.
 
A Superhero/Super Villain Day celebrated creativity and each student’s uniqueness. On Fridays or Donate a Book Day, the school gave back to others—a super thing to do. The donated books were given to the real superheroes of the community on Hometown Heroes Day—the fire fighters, EMS, military personnel, and police.
 
More beloved superheroes—parents, grandparents, and loved ones—came together at marvelous and multiple Family Events, such as Donuts With Dads, Muffins With Moms, and Goodies With Grands. But the main goal of the J.E.J. Moore Middle School Book Fair was to help students discover the super power of reading! They did so by launching a schoolwide reading challenge. Each English class chose their own superhero and every time a student finished a book, they hung their classes’ superhero emblem on display. Within days the front hall and library were covered! Students who reached or surpassed their reading goal were invited to a Superhero Social.
 
The Book Fair at J.E.J. Moore Middle School increased sales by 24 percent, showing that reading truly is a super power and that their Book Fair was a blast!
 

The President’s Award for Exceptional Performance winners of 500 Scholastic Dollars each are:

President’s Award for Exceptional Performance (All for Books™): Norwell Middle School
​Ossian, IN
Chairperson: Jody Gates
Student Crew Count: 16
Theme: Feelin’ Groovy Book Fair
 
The Feelin’ Groovy Book Fair at Norwell Middle School was top notch, just like its Student Crew! As members of the National Junior Honor Society, the Student Crew members excelled in academics, community service, and leadership roles within the school. They led the development and execution of amazing ideas to promote the Fair and grow sales and participation, including a multi-faceted All for Books campaign. Students participated in a week-long coin war, teachers paid $20 to wear jeans for the month, and students paid $1 to dress-up on multiple days: Pajama Day, Neon Day, Black-Out Day, Hat Day, and Indiana University or Purdue Day. All in all, the Student Crew collected more than $1,300 in All for Books donations! The funds were used to purchase books from the Fair for a faculty member’s preemie baby nursery. No doubt, they closed out their Fair feeling groovy, setting records, and increasing sales by 102 percent!
 
President’s Award for Exceptional Performance (Student Engagement): Excelsior Springs Middle School
Excelsior Springs, MO
Chairperson: Kathy Travis
Student Crew Count: 50
Theme: Feelin’ Groovy: Can You Dig It Book Fair
 
Even though the Feelin’ Groovy Book Fair took a little more research for the Student Crew at Excelsior Springs Middle School than in previous years, their hard work sure paid off! They began their planning by researching different decades and then acquiring props, such as a real-working record player, a disco ball, and gold platform shoes. They made posters for movies from the 60s as decorations; created records that featured Dan Poblocki books; and built a lava lamp and 1960s van for a selfie station. The Student Crew tie-dyed T-shirts for the team and the school staff, hosted a dance, gave away prizes to students dressed from the decades, and launched an extensive social media campaign that included Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Edmodo, Google classroom, the school website, and more. This Student Crew owned every part of their kickin’ Book Fair, and students owned more books because of them!
 
President’s Award for Exceptional Performance (Advertising): Rogers Middle School 
Rogers, MN
Chairperson: Annie Allen
Student Crew Count: 9
Theme: Under the Sea: Hooked on Reading
 
To help get the word out about their Under the Sea Book Fair, the Student Crew at Rogers Middle School created commercials to advertise the Book Fair. The commercials, produced by the students, aired on the school’s closed-circuit television morning show. In addition to their commercials, they designed a “Catch of the Day” promotional poster, featuring a large fish hook and a different book each day. The Student Crew decorated the school with even more posters and shared booktalks throughout the week, but the biggest advertisement was the excitement they shared with their friends as the Book Fair approached! 
 
President’s Award for Exceptional Performance (Family Event): Oliver Middle School 
Broken Arrow, OK
Chairperson: Jenny Smith
Student Crew Count: 11
Theme: The Groovy Book Fair
 
For Oliver Middle School’s Groovy Book Fair, it was all about family. The Student Crew planned two events: the first, their Pastries With Parents breakfast, and the second, a first-time event called Lunch and Look, where parents, grandparents, youth ministers, and more brought a lunch to eat with their student before shopping the Book Fair.
 
For the Pastries With Parents event, Student Crew and National Junior Honor Society members served food and drinks, and then cleaned up the tables afterward. This allowed the Book Fair chairperson to tend to the shoppers at the Book Fair.
 
The second event, Lunch and Look, was a huge success! Not only did the loved ones attending comment on the convenience and relaxed nature of the event, the event itself did not cost the school a dime since the adults attending brought their own lunches. This resulted in more than $1,000 in sales!
 
Needless to say, Oliver Middle School brought their students and families together—all in the name of reading!