Animals visit for Read-a-thon


Last week, a pig and a goat stopped by Conger Elementary School to receive a kiss from Principal Mary Krell as a reward for students reading more than 40,000 words during their Read-a-thon event earlier this month.

Krell said during the Read-a-thon, students set a goal for how many minutes they were going to read over two weeks and could win different prizes like gift cards, more recess time, a glow dance party and the final prize, their principal kissing barnyard animals.

Krell said that traditionally, the Read-a-thon ends with the principal getting a pie to the face, but Krell said she wanted to switch gears this year.

“One year I got 92 pies (to the face),” Krell said with a laugh. “We decided to do something different just to motivate the kids and brought up some different ideas for rewards.”

Krell said when she taught in Marion, she knew a teacher who would bring in goats as a reward for students and came up with the idea of bringing in farm animals to make a memorable experience for the students.

“It’s a lot less messy for sure,” Krell said. “Ultimately, I love to do these fun things. These are awesome experiences for the kids to be able to be part of in an elementary school. I enjoy doing a big culminating reward for the whole school. I love building relationships with friends and teachers, and I think fun things like this are what help with that relationship building.”

Krell said the students set a goal of 50,000 minutes but only reached 42,500.

“They were not quite there but I know the students worked very hard and I’m just excited for kids to be reading,” Krell said. “It was a fun way to end school before spring break and before we gear up for spring testing and activities at the end of the school year.”

Near the end of the day Friday, students and staff gathered on the playground as Krell puckered up for Mater the goat and Fanta the pig. Students cheered and clapped for each animal and even chanted “on the mouth!” when Krell originally only kissed the pig on the top of its head. Krell complied and gave Fanta another kiss on the nose.

Afterwards, Krell said she enjoyed seeing the student excitement.

“It was definitely a thrill,” Krell said, adding that she was very grateful to the volunteers and members of the PTO who brough in the animals.

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903.

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