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Reading winners take to the skies

Pagosa Springs Elementary School recently hosted a Scholastic Book Fair featuring a special theme: “Destination Book Fair —Read Around the World.”

A hot air balloon-themed reading challenge was held for a month at each grade level to coincide with the book fair. Every time a student completed a reading goal sheet, they were entered into a chance to win a tethered hot air balloon ride provided by Mike Marchand, local balloonist.

One winner was selected from each grade level and another winner was drawn randomly from the attendees at the family night event.

The balloon rides were held the morning of Nov. 18 and each child rode with their family and teacher.

The excited winners were: Kindergartner Madison Pacheco (teacher Donna Hudson); first-grader Zeke McQuiggen (teacher Kellilyn Patterson); second-grader Alondra Echavarria (teacher Cathne Holt); third-grader Timothy Cochran (teacher Kristin Hentschel); fourth-grader David Weber (teacher Paula Ford); and the family night event winners were sisters Amber and Kalista Montoya.

It was an exciting morning as each grade came out to the field adjacent to the school to observe the balloon flight and cheer on their classmate.

Marchand donated his time, equipment and balloon crew which included Chrissy Karas, JoAnn Laird, Mikaela Marchand, Kim Moore, Lisa Reeves, Brian Vaughn and Stan Zuege.

The elementary school has been hosting book fairs since 1982. This book fair will net the school over $3,000 in cash, over $400 in books and $125 in resource materials for the library. Proceeds from book fairs are used for reading and educational improvements and help fund the purchase of necessary unbudgeted supplies for the school. Last year, several new pieces of playground equipment were purchased with the surplus of book fair proceeds.