SALT LAKE CITY — Rain threatened to wash out a celebration that had been a year in the making. But readers prevailed over rain and Chopper 5 was able to land on the playground of Granite Elementary.
"It's great to see people excited about books and excited about learning, especially the amount of time they've been reading," said Brooke Niemeyer of marketing company Clearlink.
Clearlink employees took part in the community event marking the school's reading accomplishments by donating money for new books.
Granite Elementary students have read 1.5 million minutes so far this school year — an impressive amount for a small school with just more than 400 students.
Educators and parents spent the school year encouraging students with reading themes and incentives. Principal Ronnie Mulqueen was glad they had cause to celebrate.
"We asked a lot of our students, we asked them to log and read every night," she said. "To know we get to celebrate with them at the end as a community was important."
After posing for class pictures with Chopper 5, students went inside for a surprise. Companies Clearlink and Usborne Books had partnered to provide $1,000 worth of books, wrapped in boxes with bows.
Boys in the school weren't too excited by the book on ballerinas, but aside from that, students cheered that these new selections would keep them on a reading roll.
"I don't often get the opportunity to see the reception and the excitement that I did today," said Emily Helm, with Usborne Books. "That was amazing."
Dozens of parents also attended the event. They've been part of the steady campaign and learned their role would not end with the school year.
Mulqueen offered the encouragement, "keep reading all summer long and keep reading on the weekends."