Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Read-A-Thon Ends With a Roar

The Read-A-Thon, the annual test of literary endurance for Humjibre's youth, has finished.
  • 507 students were registered for the three week event.  Never before in GHEI's history have so many turned so many pages for so long in the library... 
  •  473 students actively participated, some racking up dozens of hours in the library with books.  Remarkably, no papercuts were reported. 
On the evening of Saturday, June 25, GHEI hosted the Read-A-Thon award ceremony at the Community Center.  Prizes of school supplies were given out to students who had engaged with a book in the library.  Prizes got more lucrative as you spent more time in the library over these last few weeks...for the top readers? A backpack stuffed with pens, pencils, notebooks, erasers, and sometimes, a big English dictionary.
  • 95 Kindergarten students were given a crayon and some stickers for showing up so often to the Read-A-Thon. 
  • 408 prizes were given out, and 65 are still waiting to be picked up.  But the devoted readers knew the score...there are no more backpacks
  • 19 students were at the top of their class, and beyond their prizes, they were presented with a storybook by the Humjibre chief, who took some time afterwards to encourage the young readers and their parents. 
  • Over 550 people attended the event!  When I told this to Sister Comfort, local businesswoman and member of the Library board, she said, "No!  There were more than that! You didn't count well enough!"
I've been in some crowded, hectic places before, but nothing like this.  It wasn't just the crowds, and it wasn't just the joyous laughs echoing everywhere.  While the awards were presented up front, in the back of the building kids, adults, and families were all hanging out, trading jokes.  It felt like most of Humjibre was in and out of the doors of the community center having a good time.  It was like a carnival under ceilings fans and a tin roof.

The evening ended with a rousing and deafening rendition of the "Gentle, gentle, with your book" song.  The song was already burned into our brains, but now, I don't think any of us can forget it.  Lexi and Helen are on their way back home now, and I'm not sure if they'll be able to describe to their friends and family what its like having a densely packed mob of 500 children shouting a song (that you taught them) at you...I'm not sure I can either.

Some students were oozing confidence before the event even began
Krista directs a reader to the stage
Volunteer teacher Degraft hands out a notebook
Library Board Chairperson Mr. Mensah and two top performing readers
The Chief of Humjibre handing out books to the best readers of each class

Helen surveys the sea of humanity
Lexi and Krista and a friend take a break
"Gentle, gentle, with your book..."


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