Mitchell principal goes to great heights for Young Reader’s Week


By Donna Thornton/News Editor

A chilly, wet November day sounds like the perfect atmosphere for curling up with a good book – even if you are curling up on the roof of an elementary school.

Mitchell Elementary School Principal Russ Waits accepted the Pizza Hut “Book It!” principal’s challenge, to spend a whole day reading as a way to inspire students during National Young Readers Week.

Waits brainstormed with school reading coach Lynn Rogers can came up with the idea of positioning Waits on the roof to read from daylight ‘til dusk.

“We were looking for some spectacular way to get (students) excited about reading,” Waits said.

It seemed to have worked, judging by the students who came outside, waving and calling to Waits on the roof.

Rogers said the students were loving the stunt – they came out class by class to draw messages either for Waits or to express their love of reading in sidewalk chalk on the sidewalks underneath Waits rooftop tent, or on the school driveway.

One class sent a message to Waits, via a bucket on a rope that Waits lowered for them.

Rogers said Waits had purchased a new book “Tip and the Gipper,” before the reading event and had saved it for his day of reading. She said he hoped to finish the book during his day on the roof.

As for the students, they had the opportunity to follow Waits’ example. Rogers said students were spending the day reading as well, though not on the same level as Waits.

While the weather was not the best – the day was chilly and for part of the day there was a slow steady rain, Waits was not roughing it too much. He had a kerosene heater and his tent, and a thermos of hot chocolate.

At midday, he had lunch served up, via the bucket and rope.

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