Schuylkill Valley Elementary School students slimed their principals on Feb. 23 in celebration of the school winning The Literacy Council of Berks County’s Reader’s WIN Campaign, raising more than $8,000 to go toward reading programs for adults.
“We’re very proud of you raising so much money to stamp out illiteracy and what your money goes to that you raised, it goes toward teaching adults how to read who do not know how to read,” said Principal Melissa Kelchner to the students packed into the gym.
Students were challenged to read and raise money for The Literacy Council of Berks County, competing in the Reader’s WIN Campaign. This is the school’s fourth consecutive year winning the campaign and their overall fifth time winning out of six years participating.
“I think this says they know the importance of reading and they love learning,” said Kelchner. “I’m very proud of us, it’s a great school, great kids, great community because it’s the parents who are the ones that gave the money to sponsor kids to read for the Read-A-Thon. It takes a village, it really does. This community is doing it right.”
Prior to being slimed by the top fundraisers, Kelchner said the students really know how important it is to raise money to teach people how to read.
“They’re proud of what they can do and they want others to be able to do it, too,” she said.
Schuylkill Valley Elementary looks for different incentives to motivate the students to read and raise funds for The Literacy Council each year in January. In the past, the principals have been pied in the face and duck taped to the wall.
This year, Kelchner and assistant principal Melissa Rhoads were slimed with green goo by the cup full by students who raised the most. Those who raised more had the opportunity to pour bigger containers onto their principals.
Raising the most at $705, third-grader Gregory Manwiller, 9, poured large buckets of green slime over the heads of both his principal and the assistant principal.
“His mother and I make it a mission every year to donate to one charity,” said Gregory’s father, Patrick. “He can enjoy himself and help people learn how to read. He loves reading.”
When asked during the assembly what his secret was to raising so much, Gregory said family and people from his parent’s work sponsored him to read.
Literacy Council Executive Director Ryan Breisch visited the school during the sliming and very much looked forward to watching the principals get slimed.
“We’re just very happy that Schuylkill Valley supports the Literacy Council. They’re the largest supporter of all of the Berks County schools,” said Breisch. “They raised more than $8,000 for the Literacy Council so we can help adults who do not have the same opportunities that these kids have. We’re very fortunate.”
“We always offer a school incentive for this because our principals are so fearless. This incentive is key to our winning 5 out of the 6 years that we have participated. Plus, it is a great way to encourage our students to read during the cold and snowy month of January,” said Deborah L. Werstler, ESL/ Reading Specialist at Schuylkill Valley Elementary School.
Werstler said about 18 or 19 other elementary schools participate and Schuylkill Valley has won five out of six years.
“Over the course of the years, we’ve probably given $38,000 to the Literacy Council which I’m so proud of because what an impact we’re making on Berks County,” said Werstler. “The students love their principals. They love this assembly but they also know the importance of knowing how to read.”