The students of Dr. John C. Wickwire Academy were gathered in the gym in the afternoon, to find out the results of the WOW reading challenge. The challenge was to get the student to read as many books as they could, between Nov 15 and April 1 of this school year.
The school of 379 students read a total of 32,624 books, beating their goal of 30,000 books. The number also blew away last year’s total of 23,000 books. With that total, Wickwire place fourth out of 63 schools, ranging from across Canada to South Africa.
The top class this year was Harding/Hartlen, hitting a total of 3,908. In fact, all the top three classes beat last year’s top class, which previously held a record of 3,260 books. The other two classes were Kean with 3,713 and Smith with 3,642.
Top readers this year were Conner Campbell in the Grade 4-6 range with 265 and Emma Gillis with 389.
For their efforts, the two top students were presented with a bag of books, while the school library was presented with $500 worth of new books.
The challenge is part of the RCMP’s Adopt-a-library program, aimed at promoting literacy in the schools through innovative programming.
The RCMP partners with book publishers to get discounts on books to bring to the schools. The books come in a variety of reading levels and subjects, something to peak the interest of just about every student, and are provided free to the schools.
“As long as they get a book in their hands, that’s what matters” says Cst. John Kennedy, coordinator of the Nova Scotia Adopt-a-Library.
The RCMP started the literacy initiative to help prevent criminal behaviour before it ever starts. Around 65 per cent of inmates in the have reading difficulties of some kind, and the hope is by promoting literacy it will impact future crime rates.
All throughout the challenge, Cst. Laura Cormier, community policing officer with the Queens RCMP, along with her helpers would go in the school throughout the year, and reward any student caught reading with a book, or a voucher from Tim Hortens. Tim Hortens in Liverpool was one of the sponsors of the challenge.
In Queens County, three schools took part: Wickwire, Mill Village Consolidated and Greenfield elementary.
A charity hockey game was played earlier this year between the South Shore Wild and the RCMP Bisons, to raise money and awareness to the challenge.