Colfax Charter Elementary School Finishes Readathon

Students collectively read over half a million minutes in this reading contest and fundraiser.

Sometimes in life, it seems everything is about the race. Whether it’s a marathon, a Presidential primary or the last man on Survivor, the focus tends to be on the outcome rather than the journey.

However, there are some instances when it’s the journey that’s important, and the trophy is just the icing on cake of a pleasant and exciting trip. This is the case in ’s annual Readathon.

This reading contest was started over two decades ago by Paige Gage, a 2nd grade teacher at Colfax. Back then she was a mom at the school, and a big advocate of reading. Students kept a log and read as many books as they could in a set amount of time. They also asked sponsors to donate money to support them, and the funds helped pay for Colfax’s Reading is Fundamental (RIF) program in which students were able to choose their own book to keep.

This year students logged the number of minutes read rather than the actual number of books, and kindergartners were able to have parents read to them.  This puts fast and slower readers on an even playing field, and encourages students to really enjoy the books they choose rather than just race through them.

As an extra incentive, Colfax’s principal traditionally performs a crazy stunt chosen by the students if the school as a whole reaches their goal by reading a set number of minutes. Joanie Freckmann, Colfax’s previous principal, kissed a pig, had snakes draped around her, ate a plate of snails, and spent the entire day on the roof during some of her Readathon stunts. Susana Gomez-Judkins, Colfax’s present principal, performed a rap song with two of the teachers one year. This year, if the students collectively read more than 250,000 minutes she has agreed to a sumo wrestling match with any teachers who have 100 percent Readathon participation in their class. The students ended up reading a total of 539,078 minutes, more than doubling their goal.

Winners were announced last week and were given trophies. All of the top three winners read over 6,000 minutes each.

"I told my mom and dad that this year I wanted to win first place,” said Tyler Ganus, a 4th grader who reached his personal goal and won 1st place in number of minutes read. “As soon as I made that decision, I sacrificed some of my activities, set my alarm to wake up earlier, and even missed some of my family dinners in order to read as much as possible. My mom taught me that when you want to win, you have to be willing to do whatever it takes. So, that's what I did! When my name was called for winning first place, I felt very proud of what I did."

Second grader David Mudd was the top money earner. He gathered a huge number of sponsors who raised a total of $1,000.

“I love reading so I asked my friends and family to support me and 41 people did,” David said. “Next year I hope to more sponsors."

"Since I love to read, it was easy for me to read to almost 7,000 minutes," notes 2nd place winner Daniel Amiel, who is in the 3rd grade.  “I got suggestions from my friends and the librarian at the public library and that kept me going.  I read new books and it was a wonderful experience for me."

Fifth grader Payton Brown won 3rd place. “I was shocked, she said. “I worked hard, but I thought I’d be 2nd like last year.”

Emma Finch won 2nd place in kindergarten. She started reading the moment she woke up each morning and decided not to have any play dates until the Readathon was over.

Jasmine Garcia won a 2nd place trophy for 2nd grade and said that she was very proud of reading so many minutes. Her mother is Maribel Garcia, Colfax’s PTA Co-President, and Maribel was also in charge of this year’s Readathon.

A total of 247 students received special medals for reading over 1,000 minutes, including Readathon founder Paige Gage who kept her own reading log. 86% of the student body participated and 14 classrooms achieved 100% participation.

This year the Readathon raised $19,000 in sponsorships, which included 133 students who raised more than $100 each.

Here is a list of winners:

Schoolwide Winners – Reading:

1st Place – Tyler Ganus

2nd Place – Daniel Amiel

3rd Place – Payton Brown

Schoolwide Winners – Money Earned:

1st Place – David Mudd

2nd Place – Dru Reed

3rd Place – Thomas Schamm

Reading Winners by Class:


1st Place – Jasmine Hannah

2nd Place – Emma Finch

3rd Place – Laim Fine

1st Grade:

1st Place – Julian Dohi

2nd Place – Sophie Hartwick

3rd Place – Lucy Zavala

2nd Grade:

1st Place – Ryan Salah

2nd Place – Jasmine Garcia

3rd Place – Justin Baiden

3rd Grade:

1st Place – Daniel Amiel

2nd Place – Nicole Abraham

3rd Place – David Elterman

4th Grade:

1st Place – Tyler Ganus

2nd Place – Zoe Gillingham

3rd Place – Aura Eguizabal

5th Grade:

1st Place – Payton Brown

2nd Place – Caden J. McDonough

3rd Place – Aidan Caplan

Room 11 (Ms. Haim – 3rd Grade) won for classroom with the highest average in minutes.

Room 29 (Mr. Lample –2nd Grade) won for top class earners.

E.M. Fredric April 23, 2012 at 07:33 PM
What a great article, Cathy. Stirs the embers of hope for our kids.
Norbert Weinberg April 24, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Huntington Learning Center to Colfax Students: Terrific!!


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