SPRING HILL — Every summer, Scholastic Inc. sponsors a Summer Reading Challenge to encourage students to read. It ended Sept. 6, and Notre Dame Catholic School ranked 63rd on the list of the top 100 schools, logging 575,430 minutes.
That's a huge increase from the 158,109 minutes the children logged just two years ago.
"Thousands of different schools compete from all over the world," said Notre Dame media specialist/librarian Barbara Williams. "Notre Dame finished in 63rd place. This is quite an accomplishment because we are a rather small school."
From May 6 to Sept. 6, students were asked to read books and log the minutes they spent reading.
"The students registered the minutes themselves for the most part," Williams said, "after I showed them how. Their teachers were also extremely supportive in allowing the students to log in their minutes during downtime. The students were reminded over and over again that, although the minutes that they logged were on an honor system, winning is never sweet unless it's honest and deserved."
To keep the momentum going, Williams said the children were sent reminders on the school's Facebook page during the summer.
Because the competition ran until early September and students were back in school in August, the school received a small, last-minute boost.
"I was extremely, pleasantly surprised at the way that even some of the newer students at Notre Dame jumped on board," Williams said.
The total minutes also included some from teachers, which Scholastic allows.
But, Williams said, "It was really last year's first- through seventh-graders who kept us up at the top. I would estimate that only about 100 students participated on a regular basis over the course of the contest."
Williams credited the school's teachers and principal, Scott Conway, for their support, but was mostly impressed with the students.
"We are very excited and proud of our students," she said.