A Blacksburg principal and guidance counselor are getting out of their own comfort zones to encourage their students.
The two are giving kids at Margaret Beeks Elementary even more of an incentive to read. The school just kicked off Winning Choices Week, which typically focuses on character building. As part of the celebration this year, students will work on setting goals when it comes to reading in what's being called Flip Out on Reading.
Students have from now through Dec. 13 to read 1000 minutes at night, just 20 minutes a day. If they meet the goal, Principal Micah Mefford and Guidance Counselor Bill Sembello, who have no experience in gymnastics, will perform a routine for the school in mid December. They've promised cartwheels but say back flips are not likely. The pair will be dressed in elf costumes while performing.
"We also wanted them to realize you don't have to do this alone," Mefford said. "We're not going to try to do this alone, we're going to get coaches and help from someone else to become better at something and we want them to do the same thing." Mefford says reading is a core subject that impacts all others and part of the goal of the challenge is to encourage reading for enjoyment and practice.
"If I can encourage a child to learn and be excited by reading by making myself look a little foolish, I'm fine with that," Sembello said.
The two top classes will also get a gymnastics party at Virginia Techniques in Christiansburg. It's the same place Mefford and Sembello are getting lessons in preparation for the expected performance.
"We just hope the kids enjoy it. Whatever it takes to get them reading, we want to support it," Mefford said. "If it's something we can use to pump up students between now and December, we'll capitalize on that excitement."