Something good happened at a Fort Worth elementary school, and the whole country will learn about it later this week.
“They’ll never forget this. They’ll never forget this moment,” said Christy Van Ausdall, a teacher at Greenbriar Elementary School as she held up a big trophy earned by her 20 third graders.
Her class won a reading competition called, Readers Become Leaders. More than 2,100 students in 112 classrooms read for five weeks to see who racked up the most time reading. Van Ausdall’s students averaged a whopping 699 minutes!
The kids didn’t know they’d won the championship until last week. Prior to the announcement, the students were all given green t-shirts that read, “Greenbriar Mustangs. Readers Today, Leaders Tomorrow.” Their teacher told everyone to wear the t-shirt the next day for a group picture.
“When they walked outside, and they saw ‘Clifford the Big Red Dog’ and all the adults and cameras. At first, it was a moment of shock for them. They didn’t quite know how to take it and then it finally sunk in and they were just squealing and jumping and down. They just loved it. The best part is all they wanted to that afternoon was read,” Van Ausdall said. “That’s what you want. You want your kids to leave the classroom with a love of reading and learning.”
Van Ausdall said she entered the competition to get the kids excited about reading. “It started out as just a fun competition, but as the weeks went, my kids kind of forgot about the competition and they were just loving reading which was the whole goal,” she said.
“People keep saying this was a lost year, and it’s not. These kids are flourishing and thriving. They’re so resilient, so it’s not a lost year.”
Each student will receive three new books to add to their personal collection. Van Ausdall may select $500 worth of books from Scholastic Book Company for the classroom library, and students will enjoy a pizza party provided by the Fort Worth Sports Commission.
“We are extremely proud of the significant impact our collaboration with the NCAA and Fort Worth ISD has had on our local students,” said Jason Sands, director of the Fort Worth Sports Commission, a division of Visit Fort Worth. “The Readers Become Leaders program is a shining example of the legacy hosting NCAA championships can have on our community.”
The 2021 NCAA National Collegiate Women’s Gymnastics Championship and Fort Worth Sports Commission host the annual reading competition. The presentation of the trophy to Van Ausdall’s class will be featured during ESPN’s telecast of the NCAA National Collegiate Women’s Gymnastics Championship hosted at Dickies Arena April 16-17.
For more information about the championships visit www.fortworth.com/ncaa.