Winners of the Spring 2018 National Elementary School Contest

Congratulations to the Winners of the
Spring 2018 National Elementary School Contest!


 

The First-Place Winner of 2,000 Scholastic Dollars and a personal visit from author Sarah Mlynowski is:

 
Saint Mark the Evangelist Catholic School
Southwest Ranches, FL
Book Fair Co-Chairpersons: Sandy Garcia and Danielle McConnell
Theme: Paws for Books
 
This south Florida school community made sure everyone was part of pulling off their successful Paws for Books Book Fair, helping them scoop up First Place in the Spring 2018 National Elementary School Contest!
 
Volunteers started spreading Book Fair news in March. They advertised the Fair through various channels including their newsletter, school portal page, church mass announcements, church bulletins, email blasts, school and parish websites, as well as posters, fliers, and online invitations.
 
In addition to 40 adult volunteers, the school also recruited a hard-working Junior Crew. They gave book talks during announcements, assembled volunteer thank-you gifts, assisted students with wish lists, bagged purchases, restocked the Fair, and promoted their All for Books campaign supporting the Humane Society’s Wags and Tales program.
 
To build excitement and boost Fair attendance, every inch of the school was themed, with most of the artwork created by students! Third-eighth grade students, the Art Club, and Junior Crew designed a large dog park mural and pet decorations. Then the school’s art teacher asked classes to decorate bulletin boards with pets reading students’ favorite books. For a “My Pet and Me” display, everyone submitted photos of themselves reading with their pets. Student volunteers decorated tables with dogs and cats which were raffled off after the Fair. The faculty dressed up like furry animals and puppy pancakes were served in the themed cafeteria! 
 
Book Fair week was packed with multiple events. For the Grand Opening, the mayor and a councilwoman “cut the leash” for an event that included a visit from a Humane Society spokesperson, accompanied by a canine companion, who shared information about reading programs and adoption. The school made $2,935 in sales in three hours! For families of younger students, the school hosted two Early Reader Shopping Events featuring reading tips, a read aloud, and shopping. Then third graders were treated to a Davie Police K-9 Unit demonstration of trained dogs in action. And finally, the school invited friends and family to shop the Grand Online Event, where the student with the most sales won a free lunch!
 
Classes competed, seeing which would buy the most books, in order to win an ice cream party. Plus, the principal offered dress-down days if the school met the Fair goals. With so much tail-wagging fun and exciting incentives, the school reached their goals and enjoyed not one, but three dress-down days! Congratulations to Saint Mark the Evangelist Catholic School!

 
The Four Second-Place Winners, which will each receive 1,000 Scholastic Dollars, are:

Joseph Henry Elementary School
Galway, NY
Book Fair Chairperson: Emma Obern
Theme: Paws for Books


 
Joseph Henry Elementary School’s Spring 2018 Book Fair was their most successful one ever! Volunteers shared Book Fair news with all of the District K-12 students and community via websites and Facebook pages. A countdown sign was placed outside the library and a display was set up in the lobby. To keep the Fair and reading top of mind, students participated in a Mindful Reading campaign, competed in a book review contest, and played Book Fair bingo.
 
Thanks to the Book Fair organizers’ savvy scheduling, there were lots of Fair events to attend! Because the Book Fair coincided with the school’s Kindergarten Screening, Mother’s Day, and student concert, they purposefully planned events or special Fair hours around them. In addition, the school held a Book Fair Family Fun Night featuring a spaghetti dinner followed by a special presentation from the Saratoga County Animal Shelter. They rounded out their “purr-fect” evening with shopping, themed breakout boxes, face painting, photo ops, raffles, and blanket making for the animal shelter.

Our Lady of Fatima School
Lafayette, LA
Book Fair Chairperson: Shannon Biggs and Melissa Oliver
Theme: Paws for Books
 
To get the Book Fair ball rolling, organizers at Our Lady of Fatima School hung banners and signs outside and included advertisements on social media, on the school’s website, and in their newsletter. They even created reminder stickers for the younger students to wear home.
 
The creative team worked diligently to transform the library, hallways, and school’s entrance into a land of cats and dogs, with cardboard doghouses, fire hydrants, scratching posts, and a tree-filled dog park. A paw print pathway lead visitors from the school’s entrance right into the library.
 
Each morning, Geronimo Stilton and Clifford greeted the students in front of the school. Striker, a Pet Partners therapy dog, paid a visit to the younger students during the day. Students dressed as their favorite dog or cat character on their classes’ assigned shopping day, and the school collected pet food for their local animal shelter. Their furry-focused Fair was a tremendous success, getting and keeping kids excited about books!
 
Southeast Elementary School
Sycamore, IL
Book Fair Chairperson: Michele Whisenhunt
Theme: Paws for Books
 
Southeast Elementary School’s new Book Fair ideas really paid off, with the school enjoying its highest Book Fair sales to date! To promote the Fair, fifth grade students wrote, acted in, and taped the school’s first-ever pre-Fair rally video! They created a song and dance for the “Paws for Books” theme and played it in classrooms at the beginning of the Fair.
 
To add extra excitement to their three family events, Fair volunteers decided to reach out and recruit more sponsors than ever before for raffle donations and event food. Their first family event was held at night and featured K-9 police officer and veterinarian demonstrations, a local university mascot huskie visit, raffle prizes, and donations for the local animal shelter. Next, they hosted a morning Grand Event with a raffle just for grands. And finally, they planned a Young Authors event, complete with a scavenger hunt, crafts, and face painting. New ideas and well-attended family events helped them reach their Paws for Books Book Fair goals! Hot diggity-dog!
 
St. Robert Bellarmine School
Chicago, IL
Book Fair Chairperson: Mary Beth Gerlach
Theme: Paws for Books


 
Volunteers at St. Robert Bellarmine School set the stage for a Paws for Books Book Fair by first transforming their Fair space into an incredible “It’s Raining Cats and Dogs Pet Park.” Students wrote essays about their pets which were placed on display in the hallway along with dog and bone pennants hanging above. Famous dog and cat book characters artwork was suspended from the ceiling for a timed game where students tried to identify as many as possible.

During Fair week, students dressed as their favorite book characters or authors and logged minutes for a reading challenge. Then the entire school community was invited to a family night which included a SIT, STAY, READ dogs and volunteers visit. The school’s All for Books donations were used to purchase books for the organization whose mission is to advance children’s literacy skills using an engaging curriculum, certified dogs, and volunteers. After the school met their Fair goals, it “went to the dogs!” As a reward, Robin’s Dog Stars Gracie and Cedar were invited to perform amazing dog tricks for the entire school.
 
The Eight Winners of the President’s Award for Exceptional Performance, which will each receive 500 Scholastic Dollars, are:
 

Advertising
Sycamore Creek Elementary School
Pickerington, OH
Book Fair Chairperson: Lynn Trotch
Theme: Paws for Books
 
To get the word out about their upcoming Book Fair Family Night, students and teachers from all grade levels at Sycamore Creek Elementary School
teamed up to produce an exciting commercial. The ad featured students, teachers, and dog and cat-masked characters reading and dancing throughout the school, encouraging everyone to attend the event. The “paw-sitively” clever ad promoted an evening of Fair shopping, crafts, STEM activities, and food trucks. Plus, it was a great way to get everyone working together, building excitement, and talking about the Fair!
 
All for Books™
Hereford Elementary School
Hereford, PA
Book Fair Chairperson: Beth Ann LaSalle
Theme: Wild West Book Fair


 
Hereford Elementary School used all of sorts of avenues to raise money for their successful All for Books campaign. First, a coin contest was held between classes, raising over $2,000! The classes that raised the most money won prizes, ranging from free books and posters to extra recess. Next, school families donated snacks and baked goods to the Fair bake sale, helping raise an additional $172.75. Volunteers collected another $218 with a Fair raffle. And volunteers asked customers if they would like to round up their purchase costs for donations at the register. The school had the rootinest, tootinest time raising a grand total of $2,673.42 in All for Books donations to purchase books for their teachers!
 
Decorations 
Castaic Elementary School
Castaic, CA
Book Fair Chairperson: Tonya Fernandez
Theme: Wild West Book Fair
 
The school community at Castaic Elementary School enjoyed an amazing Wild West encounter thanks to their Book Fair volunteers’ creative genius! Volunteers started researching and making western props three months before the Fair began. They transformed the school stage into a Wild West town and corral. A humorous, wooden sign directed shoppers to the general store, chow line, and outhouse! There were wooden barrels, wagon wheels, skulls, and giant horseshoes fashioned out of paper. Desert cacti, cow folk, and money bags were scattered throughout. And of course, there was a life-size, cardboard jail. The themed decorations inspired fun for all—perfect for horsin’ around and lassoin' great books!
 
Family Event
Charles G. Harker Elementary School
Woolwich Township, NJ
Book Fair Chairperson: Helene Santillo
Theme: Paws for Books


 
The Spring Family Fun Night and Evening Book Fair event was the special highlight of the Charles G. Harker Elementary School spring Book Fair. After an extensive school and social media promotional blitz, volunteers got to work creating a memorable evening. The event included Book Fair shopping, raffle baskets, sixteen FUR-ever As Friends pet therapy teams, an inflatable obstacle course as well as pitching games, tattoo glitter art, carnival games, and a photo booth. Two local food trucks and a pizza stand provided great dinner options for all. Their volunteers really knew how to throw a Book Fair “paw-ty”—the celebration of reading was attended by over 1,000 people!
 
Grand Event
York Elementary School
York, NE
Book Fair Chairperson: Carmalita Colburn
Theme: Paws for Books
 
The Book Fair organizers at York Elementary School tried something new and planned two Grand Events. For their Lunch With Grandparents Event, 400 guests came to eat with 245 Kindergarten through 5th grade students. The school also held a Preschool Grandparent’s Day, allowing for a more intimate experience, ideal for the very young students. The Grand Events turned their spring BOGO Book Fair into more than a retail experience. It was a unique way to develop cross-generational relationships, create memories, and promote literacy. The event was key to the Book Fair’s success, bringing in $3,000 more than their best prior BOGO Book Fair. But more importantly, it was a successful way to engage their extended school family.
 
Student Engagement 
Gaston Elementary School
Gaston, NC  
Book Fair Chairperson: Keisha Freeman
Theme: Paws for Books


 
Gaston Elementary School did an outstanding job keeping their student body engaged with their pet-themed Book Fair, making sure everyone could experience the reading excitement and enjoy some great tales! Starting three weeks before the Fair, the school played all of the Book Fair commercials via the computer in the media center and over the PA system. The Book Fair chairperson shared book talks with students during the week. Fair volunteers conducted a schoolwide Get Caught Reading campaign as well as a What Would You Do for Reading? Challenge. For 4th through 8th grade students, golden tickets were hidden throughout the media center to be redeemed for a Book Fair tour and free item on the first day of the Fair. And thanks to generous All for Books donations, almost every student was able to purchase something at the Book Fair.
 
Volunteers
J.C. Solmonese Elementary School
Norton, MA
Book Fair Chairperson: Julie Durmis
Theme: Paws for Books
 
This Massachusetts elementary school formed a strong team of volunteers, from students to staff, to rally around the Book Fair and encourage students to read more! Their principal worked with student volunteers sharing book talks during morning announcements. The school’s custodian dressed as Clifford and visited with students at the Fair and in classrooms, helping increase Book Fair excitement. Library volunteers and SPO volunteers worked together, assisting with set-up, customer service, and event operations. Thanks to J.C. Solmonese’s volunteers, students discovered great new books and just how fun reading could be!
 
Reading Activities
Arrowhead Elementary School
Copley, OH
Book Fair Chairperson: Michelle Neuhauser
Theme: Paws for Books


 
In order to keep kids engaged with books after the Book Fair, Arrowhead Elementary School successfully tied their Fair to their school-wide Reading Challenge. With plenty of new books from the Fair and a goal in sight, students participated in the school’s second annual reading challenge, reading at least 20 minutes per night. If the school read a total of 35,000 minutes, students would receive a night of no homework and the principal would match the greatest number of minutes read by a student...in only one day! Prizes were awarded for participation and most minutes read per classroom and medals were handed out. It was an exciting time with 248 students reading 44,940 minutes—an average of 181.2 minutes/student for the 5-day challenge, and 23% more minutes than the year before!