Space to Read
Crozet Elementary Principal Gwedette Crummie’s desk is piled with stacks of books—all suggestions from students for what she might read during this year’s Principal’s Reading Challenge. “This is the fourth year of the challenge,” said Crummie, grinning over the piles, “and every year the third grade comes up with a new idea for me.” One year she camped out in a tent with her books, and another year she hid herself all around the school while doing her reading. This year’s challenge combined math and science with literacy.
“This year they are sending me to the moon!” she laughed. “Based on our old spacecraft, it takes three days to get to the moon, which is 4,320 minutes. We divided that up by how many students and teachers we have, and they each have to read at least 12 minutes so they can send me to the moon.” Adding to the fun and learning was a presentation by members of the PVCC Rocketry Club, including a demonstration launch of a model rocket out on the playground.
“Everybody knows my motto is RED,” said Crummie. “Read Every Day!”
After donating toothbrushes to Murray Elementary’s post-Halloween candy drive four years ago, Crozet dentist Dr. David Maybee was inspired to continue and expand the collections to give kids a healthy alternative to keeping (and eating!) all of that candy each year. Now dubbed the Western Albemarle Candy Collection Initiative (WACCI for short), Maybee coordinates the program with the PTO’s in three local elementary schools, this year netting 750 pounds of candy.
“I don’t want to take away from the fun of Halloween at all,” said Maybee, “I’d just like to supplement it and extend the energy toward a healthful purpose.” He finds outlets for the candy haul, including donating it to military bases overseas and to nonprofit organizations in Charlottesville.
Maybee explained that baby teeth, which are lost by about age 12, have an enamel layer that is much thinner and less dense than that of adult teeth. “It doesn’t take much for baby teeth to decay, and eating lots of sugar exposes those teeth to high levels of acidity that can really damage them, especially with repeated exposure,” said Maybee. Early patterns make habits, he said, but if you change those habits you can have strong teeth for life.
Scott Williams, P. E. teacher at Meriwether Lewis School, was excited for his students to take part in the candy drive this year. “We try to highlight the excessive nature of Halloween with a game called ‘Sugar Zombies,’ where we act out what happens in our bodies when we have a sugar rush and a sugar crash,” he said. MLS’s program gives any student who brings in a candy donation a ticket for a raffle to win passes to Jump Trampoline Park in Charlottesville. In addition to giving out the 25 Jump passes, Williams also does a drawing for a student-taught P. E. class. “Rewarding students with exercise makes us a healthier community,” he said.
Dr. Maybee donated the passes to the schools for the prizes, and also coordinated with Crozet Elementary for a candy drive as part of their Fall Festival. He hopes the enthusiasm for the program keeps growing. “I’d love to see this spread across the county.”
An Open Book
Remember the paper flyer for Scholastic Books that got stuffed in your backpack each week? Blow that up to life-size, and it was on display in the Murray Elementary library for a week in November.
The Scholastic Book Fair is a major fundraising event for Murray, raising over $6,000 for the library each year. “We can take a percentage of the proceeds in cash, to pay for things like author visits, and the rest in Scholastic credit to purchase more books,” said school librarian Elizabeth Waterbury.
During the weeklong event, students visit the Book Fair and scribble down the details of anything that looks appealing on their wish lists. They can bring in money for their selections, or pass the list to a parent with fingers crossed. As long as the case and shelf numbers of the choices are noted, parents can locate them on Family Night or during the adults-only coffee hour on Friday morning.
Do students get everything on their lists? “Not all,” said fourth grader Anders, pointing out the many Lego-themed books he’d requested. “Usually my mom buys me one or two.” From fantasy series to craft books, there is something for every taste. Fourth grader Cicely prefers nonfiction. “I like true stories that might otherwise seem like they might not be true,” she said with a smile.
The Family Night event attracts a crowd, and features door prizes every fifteen minutes and a fifth-grade bake sale. It’s a huge effort, but worth it, says Waterbury. “I get a lot of help from parents and students, and it’s often pretty hilarious.
All of Book Fair is happy chaos!”