Leaders celebrate reading champs

Students Jermaine Denmon, John Tryon, Ally Bailey, Jillian Knoll, Antonia Prosser and Brianna Moore inspect their prizes. - Michelle Beahm/Whidbey News-Times
Students Jermaine Denmon, John Tryon, Ally Bailey, Jillian Knoll, Antonia Prosser and Brianna Moore inspect their prizes.
— image credit: Michelle Beahm/Whidbey News-Times

Third graders at Oak Harbor Elementary school gathered in the multi-purpose room Friday to fete the Fantastics.

Island County Commissioner Jill Johnson and the district’s superintendent, Lance Gibbon, joined the students in recognizing the headline-stealing, reading challenge champions.

The eight students who made up the Fantastics team were called to the front of the room to stand with their coaches, Glenda Jackson and Peter Woodard, and their principal, Dorothy Day.

The members of the Fantastics are Jermaine Denmon, John Tryon, Ally Bailey, Jillian Knoll, Antonia Prosser, Brianna Moore, Liam Woodard and Payten Smith.

Woodard gave them all an impromptu quiz about the six books they read for the challenge, and even after more than a week since the championship on April 2, they answered every question with no trouble.

“You can see the success,” Jackson said, “they went all the way, and part of that is because we’re a very good team.”

The team won island-wide challenges and the regional competition with perfect scores, but in the championship, it was a close thing. There was one question the team was torn on, and only a last minute save by team leader Antonia Prosser kept them from going into a tie-breaker.

“When we got it right, I was really surprised,” said Ally Bailey, who was in charge of delivering the answers to the judges in that round.

“We’re just really glad that we chose … that answer.”

The main takeaway from this challenge was supposed to be teamwork and reading comprehension. The coaches agreed that they succeeded in those areas.

“Everybody had their role and participated, and was very cooperative,” Jackson said.

Johnson brought medals for the Fantastics and county-government pins.

“I can tell by looking around that there’s some talent in this room,” she said. “We’re all so proud of you.”

“I think a perfect score is something noteworthy,” Johnson said. “I think the fact that they put a lot of work into it prior to the competition is significant and I really love the teamwork aspect of it.”

Johnson said she believes it’s important to celebrate achievements, but noted she is particularly proud of academic ones.

“It’s the foundation for future success,” she said.

The two coaches also presented the students with another prize, little toy eagles to remember the students and their achievement.

“I am really, really proud of all of you for the hard work that you did with your reading,” Gibbon said, not just to the Fantastics, but to all the participants of the reading challenge.

“And especially proud of this team, because they not only represented your school, but they represented the whole community. … They kind of showed everybody that we have great kids in Oak Harbor, and we’re very, very proud of them.”


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