Name: Jimmy Casella
Accomplishment: Jimmy organized a school-wide contest at McAlister, challenging the student body to collectively read 1 million pages by the end of the school year.
More than 750,000 pages have been read so far by the third, fourth and fifth graders at the school. They read an astounding 93,000 pages during their week-long February vacation alone.
Jimmy was inspired by Miss Daisy is Crazy, a book he read between 2nd grade and 3rd grade. Students at the school in that story are promised an arcade in their gymnasium if they can collectively read 1 million pages.
While McAlister students won't have Pac-Man and NBA Jam in their gym, reaching their goal will result in a school-wide pizza party. Jimmy believes the students will reach their goal before the end of the academic year.
Keys to Awesomeness: Perseverance and planning. Jimmy worked on his idea since reading Miss Daisy is Crazy and presented it to Assistant Principal Jack Ferraro in the fall of 2010. They worked together to figure out details including tallying the number of pages read by individual students, organizing the weekly page statistics and charting the students' overall progress.
Jimmy then presented his idea to the staff and then the students at McAlister to a very positive response. He has spurred on a voracious wave of readers.
"Both Mr. Ferraro and I could not be more proud of Jimmy," said McAlister Principal Karen Carpenter.
Special thanks to Maureen Fortin, fourth-grade teacher at McAlister, for her informative letter about Jimmy on the school's Web site.
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