The event started off with the students gathered in the gym, where teacher Dawn Taylor told them they had read a total 11,083 books to merit this year’s Kick Off.
"Are you ready for Central Elementary's big Kick Off Welcome Back to School Celebration of Reading?" Taylor asked the students Friday morning. The answer from the full student body of the school was a loud resounding and very excited, "Yes!"
Taylor said Friday's event has become a tradition of the celebration of reading and coming together as a school family at Central. She said Central’s teachers and students see reading as the center of success in all school subjects and later success in life.
"Students focus on reading in a variety of ways at Central, including via the accelerated reading, drop everything and read, reading from high-interest books, and reading fiction and non-fiction texts,” Taylor said. “Teachers model reading as they read to and with their students.”
To prepare for the big day of fun and reward, the students began reading as soon as school started in August. Friday's grand total revealed that students in Head Start through eighth grade had read 11,083 books.
Taylor said Principal Terry Morley, Assistant Principal Letha Carr, and all the teachers and staff members at Central make the Kick Off day possible each year. "We are a big family here at Central; everyone works together for the benefit of the boys and girls. There is no place like Central,” Taylor said.
The event always includes guests to the school, and this year the children enjoyed the music of Fiddlin’ Leona and JP. As always, athletes from East Tennessee State University showed up to congratulate the students on their accomplishments. The athletes provided entertainment in the gym, then interacted with students on campus at the bounce houses and game centers set up for the day of fun.
The students were also excited by the performance of the Happy Valley High School band and others from the school, which included a pep and spirit rally. It featured a drum line, brass ensemble, football players, and cheerleaders encouraging the Central students to continue reading.