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Creekside wins $1,000 prize

After four years of submissions for the award, an army of parent volunteers, an international-tour book fair and a 30-page report, Creekside Elementary School has done it.

The school recently earned a second-place prize in the Scholastic Book Fairs Fall 2009 Elementary National Contest. Creekside was the only school winner in Virginia. The prize is a $1,000 shopping voucher from Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company.

“This is just so rewarding,” said Kim Richardson, librarian at Creekside. “We are so honored they would choose our school.”

The semi-annual competition encourages schools to attract and increase student and adult interest in the Book Fair, as well as in books and reading.

“We all want our children to be successful, have a joy for reading and be high achievers,” Richardson said. “To instill that in children, we read to them, encourage them to read and we try to do things to stimulate reading — like a book fair like this.”

During their Scholastic Book Fair held last fall, Creekside staff, students and parent volunteers transformed their school into a worldwide destination, featuring cultures from around the world. Volunteers dressed and played the part of people from many different countries. Other volunteers built scale replicas of famous worldwide landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, a 30-foot Big Ben, a 6-foot long Golden Gate Bridge and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

“We go all out on every book fair,” Richardson said. “We had the whole community come through to support us. It was just fabulous.”

Creekside kicked off the Book Fair by giving each student his or her own passport, which students used to visit five booths, each representing a different country. There, they received a stamp and learned more about each country.

Contests included identifying flags and voting on which costume the librarian would wear.

Of the many special events, the highlight was a visit by author Kimberly Johnson, who provided a motivational presentation to the entire student body.

Scholastic Book Fairs president Alan Boyko, praised the level of enthusiasm and competitive spirit shown by Creekside Elementary School and other schools across the country involved in the book fair program.

“The National Contest is designed to help schools connect young minds with the excitement of books and the thrill of reading,” he said. “It was difficult to choose only one winner from the many outstanding submissions we received.”