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Reading rewarded

| Thursday, May 24, 2007

Ten Connellsville Junior High West students were honored for their dedication to reading.

The students recently took a ride in a Hummer limousine to 30 East Main restaurant, in Uniontown, where they lunched with Fayette County Commissioner Joe Hardy.

Several schools within the Connellsville Area School District have begun the Accelerated Reader Program. Each school established incentives for students to read as many books as they can throughout the year.

At Junior High West, the top 10 students received the luxury ride, courtesy of Drs. Richard Grimaldi and Ashley Grimaldi Farrah, of Grimaldi Dental Associates, in Connellsville. Lunch was courtesy of Hardy.

The Accelerated Reader Program is designed to encourage students to read. After reading a book of their choice, students take a quiz on that book and are awarded points for each question answered correctly.

Junior High West librarian Christine Wallander said the top 10 list was pretty consistent for a good part of the year.

But, just before the contest was complete, spots six through 10 did a lot of changing.

"They really shuffled around, and the very last day we had an upset," she said.

Top 10 at Junior High West were Melissa Baker with 540.1 points, Joseph Adobato with 431.4 points, Rachel Farris with 271.3 points, Gina Smitley with 257.9 points, Joshua Woods with 255.2 points, Kayla Baker with 248.1 points, Joseph Moore with 223.2 points, Amanda Duchek with 220.1 points, Sue Stazetski with 219.5 points and Jeff Medvec with 216.4 points.

Baker said she decided to try and make the top 10 just because she liked to read. More than 25 books later she ended up untouchable with more than 100 points separating her and the second place spot.

"I mostly picked fiction books to read, and I had fun reading them," she said. "The limo ride was so fun and I've never eaten here before. It was so worth it."

Adobato said that all the students had to read a few books for the program, but he wanted to make the top 10 so he could enjoy the limo ride and lunch.

"I'm surprised that we got this big of a trip just for reading," he said.

Adobato --an eighth grader -- plans to participate again next year.

"If I can find any books that I haven't already read," he said.

Wallander said the students were accompanied to the restaurant with English teachers Kim Blackstone, Robert DeBolt, Barbara Lloyd and Carmella Polito.

"Without the help and support of these teachers, the Accelerated Reader Program would not have been successful."

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