Waiting for their limousine ride to Pizza Hut were Kaylee Mason, Darien Sutherlin, Tina Stapert, Kara Clodfelter, Trent Barnett, Baileigh Burns, Shailyn Ennis, Samantha Gibbens, Tiffany Gillie, Ashlee Hartley, Troy Jeffrey, Kristen Kilker, Drake McKee, Alexis Mills, Danny Rains, Brittany Ray, Justin Sampson, Sarah Stallcop and Jacob Vansickle. Joe Davis was the chauffeur.
Talk about a great deal for fifth-grade students at East Side Elementary: Read 35 or more books in six months and be rewarded with a limousine ride and a lunchtime pizza party at Pizza Hut.
Nineteen students in Ellen Packard and Floy Galbraith's classes met, and many surpassed, that goal as part of the 2006 Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program.
Shortly after noon Tuesday, the students lined up outside the school with teachers and parent chaperones, Rhonda Ray and Scott Burns, for a ride in RJ Formal Wear's white stretch limousine to their lunchtime destination.
Nineteen students qualified for the extra special reward. For most, it was their first time to ride in a limo.
"This is so cool," said one excited student who couldn't stand still. "I normally hate to read, but this is worth it."
The chauffeur, Joe Davis, was happy to answer students' questions about the car. He said he enjoyed the excitement of the students.
It took several trips to take the teachers, chaperones and Kaylee Mason, Darien Sutherlin, Tina Stapert, Kara Clodfelter, Trent Barnett, Baileigh Burns, Shailyn Ennis, Samantha Gibbens, Tiffany Gillie, Ashlee Hartley, Troy Jeffrey, Kristen Kilker, Drake McKee, Alexis Mills, Danny Rains, Brittany Ray, Justin Sampson, Sarah Stallcop and Jacob Vansickle to Pizza Hut
Students ate pizza and listened to the jukebox before returning to school.
The reading incentive BOOK IT! Program was created by Pizza Hut in 1985 as a way to get students involved in reading. More than 22 million students enroll in the free program each school year throughout the nation.
Locally, each elementary school receives the BOOK IT! information and individual classroom teachers set monthly reading goals for their class. As students meet the goal, they're presented certificates to take to Pizza Hut.
During the first visit to Pizza Hut, students get a BOOK IT! card and sticker to recognize their reading achievement and a free one-topping Personal Pan Pizza. Each visit afterward, they are rewarded with another sticker for the card and another pizza. If they reach the goal all six months of the program, students receive a BOOK IT! All-Star Reader Award.
Realizing the importance of the program for their students, Galbraith and Packard arranged the special luncheon as an added incentive.
"Reading books outside the classroom will help greatly improve students' reading skills, while creating lifelong readers," the teachers said. "They really look forward to this."