BLACKFOOT — The laughter and the "ARRRGHHHs" could be heard throughout the building at Stoddard Elementary School as students celebrated exceeding their Idaho Reads! VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) reading challenge at a "pirate themed" reward party Friday.
Annie Tanner, Idaho Reads! VISTA volunteer for the school, said that the goal for the school-wide reading challenge was for the students to read 200 books (with a book title starting with each letter of the alphabet) by March 31. The students exceeded the goal by reading 207 books.
Throughout the year, members of the community helped with the challenge by coming to the school and reading with the kids.
Students who completed the challenge enjoyed the reward party with games, treats and prizes, with the hit of the party being "principal pranks" played on the school's principal Ryan Wilson.
Wilson was a good sport to participate in the fun by popping balloons with his bottom, walking planks and "jello fishing" with his face!
"He [Mr. Wilson] is such a great principal. He loves those kids and would do anything to help them succeed," Tanner commented.
Tanner said that this year's 'pirate' reward party was a particularly special celebration as this is the last year that Stoddard will be participating in the Idaho Reads! VISTA program.
Tanner has served as the school's Idaho Reads! VISTA volunteer for the past three years helping to promote family literacy and encouraging parent involvement at the school.
"This has been an extremely rewarding experience," she exclaimed. "I love to see kids and their families get excited about reading. It has been fun to see entire families participate in this challenge. Hopefully it has instilled the love of reading in kids and their families for a lifetime."
Idaho Reads! VISTA is a 'three-year' grant funded program offered by the State Department of Education and funded through the Corporation for National and Community Service.