Northpoint students go for gold, read 400,800 minutes

Northpoint Elementary students collectively read for 400,800 minutes in February, I Love to Read Month.

Promised a dunk tank if they read for more than 400,000 minutes in February, I Love to Read Month, Northpoint Elementary students read 400,800 minutes and savored their glory, dunking Dean of Students Tyler Nelson, left, and Principal Mike Callahan, right, as many times as possible. Photos by Olivia Koester

Promised a dunk tank if they read for more than 400,000 minutes in February, I Love to Read Month, Northpoint Elementary students read 400,800 minutes and savored their glory, dunking Dean of Students Tyler Nelson, left, and Principal Mike Callahan, right, as many times as possible. Photos by Olivia Koester

The school celebrates I Love to Read Month annually, but with the Olympics this year, “we kind of went all out,” said Erin Stalsberg, the technology continuous improvement coach who orchestrated the month’s event.

Staff dressed up like famous Olympians for an opening ceremony and laid out the requirements to medal: 240,000 minutes of reading would get students on the podium with a bronze medal, 320,000 minutes would warrant silver and 400,000 would bring glory and gold.

With approximately 800 students enrolled at Northpoint, each student needed to read for 25 minutes five nights each week to reach the gold-medal benchmark.

A winter fun day, complete with hot chocolate, came with a bronze medal, but marshmallows would be denied if students did not earn the silver medal. With gold came the ultimate prize: a dunk tank.

Principal Mike Callahan and Dean of Students Tyler Nelson climbed into the dunk tank five times March 6. Other staff members, including Stalsberg, took their turns, too.

Students who read the most in each classroom had the opportunity to dunk educators.

It was cold outside, but “what warms you up is just seeing the kids, their excitement,” Callahan said.

After dunking staff, students participated in some snowy Olympic challenges, including Snow People Pin, where students raced toward snowmen blindfolded; Ski Challenge, where groups of students needed to coordinate their movements on a giant pair of skis; Snowball Scoop, where students aimed snowballs at a trash can; Ski Ball in the snow; snowshoeing and tug-of-war.

Students warmed up with a cup of hot chocolate – just one, though many kids begged for refills.

Olivia Koester is at olivia.koester@ecm-inc.com

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