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Donlin Drive goes for an Olympic reading record

Talk about an Olympic record, Donlin Drive Elementary reads in the spirit of the Vancouver winter games

Donlin Drive Elementary students know a thing or two about a good book, better yet, they know a lot more having read more than 2,400 books between Jan. 4 and Feb. 12.

All 380 students, kindergarten through sixth grade, participated in the school's reading challenge, "Book a trip to the Donlin Drive Olympics."

The school hosted a closing ceremony Friday morning Feb. 12, with the school band playing the national anthem. Students sang winter themed songs and participated in a day filled with outdoor winter games.

Each time a student read a book, he or she filled out a card that included the book's title and author and a brief summary on the story.

The Olympic theme rang true as each classroom chose a country to represent during the reading challenge. Each country represented was honored with a flag during the closing ceremony parade.

The school was also honored to have one of the Olympic torches carried in the Salt Lake City Olympic Games' relay in 2002.

DDE Principal John Sardella said a friend of his, Robin Chalifaux, offered to have the school borrow the torch she carried through parts of Central New York during a leg of the traditional torch relay in 2002.

The torch was passed among classrooms each time 80 books were read. A map in the main hallway of DDE shows the path the students took during their "trip to the Olympics." The path began in Liverpool, of course, and took them through 23 cities.

Sardella and the school's reading teachers, Chris Mathes and Stephanie Reed, are happy to see the kids get excited about reading.

"It's a fun competition," Sardella said. "It also falls under our goal to keep increasing our New York State scores."

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