Students toss 425 pies at leaders for reading reward

One hundred and eight pounds of whipped cream were used to create 425 pies for students to throw in the faces of Principal Vicki Hudepohl and Student Support Facilitator Jamie Hood. The two agreed to “get creamed” if students collectively read more than 115,000 minutes in a three-week period.

“It was all or nothing,” Hudepohl said of the contest. “They met the challenge with flying colors and are extremely excited today to ‘whack us with pies,’ as they say.”

Fourth-grader Maggie Smith said she read about 50 books as part of the challenge. The reading incentive program, sponsored by Usborne Books & More’s Reach for the Stars program, also included free books for the students. But Smith was more concerned about her throwing abilities.

“It’s fun because we get to throw pies in her face and laugh,” Smith said.

Kenwood Elementary is the first school in the Springfield district to take part in the program. Hudepohl, who used the program at her previous school, said any incentive to get students to read is a good one — even if it means literally eating her words.

“We had kids reading everywhere. Instead of playing on the playground they were sitting at the picnic table reading,” she said. “We have students even now that are bringing their books into the lunch room and reading while they eat.”

“That’s pretty cool. Reading has become that important in their lives,” Hudepohl added.

The pieing took about an hour as each student individually lined-up to serve up their pie. Top readers got to step a little closer to make sure their whipped cream concoctions hit home. Hood said it was worth being pelted with hundreds of pies because “the students did read.”

Students tracked reading minutes daily and collected sponsors to support their activities. Usborne Books, along with local businesses, donated books to the school and to each student.

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