Jefferson Elementary School Students Complete March Madness Reading Challenge

ROCKLAND — Principal Michelle Scheufele is pleased to share that students at Jefferson Elementary School successfully completed their March Madness Reading Challenge.

During the challenge, students in grades kindergarten through fourth grade tallied up their points by counting three points for every 20 minutes of reading throughout the month of March with the goal of getting 10,000 points.

Meeting the challenge earned students a special visit on Wednesday, April 10, from Corey Jones of the Basketball Jones program in Ohio. In addition, on Thursday, April 11, Principal Scheufele allowed all the students who had turned in reading logs to duct tape her to the wall so that she could become a living basketball hoop.

On Wednesday, Jones, who played on the same basketball team as LeBron James at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio, delivered motivational messages about kindness, teamwork and character to the Jefferson students.

In the Jefferson gym, Jones spoke to grades kindergarten through second grade in the morning and grades three through four in the afternoon. At both assemblies Jones energetically engaged all children, encouraging them to interact with him by having them repeat out loud many of the lessons he conveyed such as “read the directions twice,” “pause to think” and saying “thank you.”

Calling several children to the front, one at a time, he asked them to go outside of their comfort zones in performing tricks with a basketball while the rest of the audience clapped and cheered them on.

To illustrate a point about inclusion, Jones told a story about Lebron James in high school, and how James would not accept a pair of complimentary sneakers from Nike unless everyone on his team received them as well, which they did. The message: “Everyone matters to the success of the school.” Also, he said, “Everybody has to give their best and create an environment where everyone feels comfortable.”

At the end, Principal Schuefele said she was pleased with the assembly and Jones’s messages. In fact, a kindergarten teacher and third grade teacher both told her that they had never seen their students so engaged with a speaker as they were with Jones.

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