This Reading Challenge Reward Was Worth the Wait!

Posted on Wednesday, May 19th, 2021

On May 13, students in the Red, Orange, Yellow, Silver, and Green Clusters received a very long-awaited treat. Head of School Dr. Scott Gaynor, Assistant Head of School Jill Thompson, and Director of Lower Division Donna Logue hand-delivered individually wrapped ice cream to them for meeting their 2020 reading challenge goal! (Yes, you read that correctly — 2020.) In what became an exercise in delayed gratification and promises kept, as well as a celebration of reading, the students finally received their reward!

In the first week of March 2020, just before the global pandemic caused the school to move to distance learning, Gaynor’s reading specialists kicked off the Lower School Reading Challenge and inspired the students to become Super Readers! Students were encouraged to read or listen to books during the challenge, and to celebrate their love of reading by filling a Bat Signal display in the North Building lobby with stickers showing the books they read. In a Gaynor tradition, students who complete the reading challenge are traditionally rewarded with a visit from an ice cream truck to celebrate their accomplishment. And while it may have taken some time, Gaynor administrators (and those successful students) wanted to be sure to celebrate the occasion when it became safe to do so.

Once the spring weather arrived, the planning for this year’s reward began. Instead of welcoming an ice cream truck to campus, Dr. Gaynor, Ms. Thompson, and Ms. Logue personally delivered individually-wrapped ice cream to the eagerly awaiting students.

Ms. Logue said, “For me, it was about keeping a promise. The annual Lower School reading challenge is a two-week event that promotes independent reading. Last year, the students embraced the challenge and had surpassed the goal early in the second week. As a reward for their good reading habits, we arranged for an ice cream truck to come to the school. Unfortunately, the school was forced to move to distance learning before we could bring in the ice cream truck. Throughout spring 2020, many students asked me if they would receive the ice cream that they earned, and I promised that they would.” 

And Ms. Logue kept her promise. “Due to the creativity of the administrative assistant team of Olivia Robinson, Ana Lovegrin and Mirissa Tarver, I was able to fulfill my promise in a slightly different way,” said Ms. Logue. “It was thrilling to see the excitement on the students’ faces as I drove my truck into their classrooms while playing the Mister Softee jingle (courtesy of Dr. Gaynor’s web searching skills). Several students mentioned that it was the best day of the school year. It certainly was moving to me to see how happy a little ice cream and fruit bars made the children. More significantly, I take my promises to children very seriously, and it was important for them to know that I am a person of my word.”

The wait made the reward all the sweeter!