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Ormond Beach Observer Monday, Sep. 19, 2022 5 days ago

Ormond Beach Elementary students read over 50,000 minutes for Kiwanis summer challenge

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by: Jarleene Almenas Senior Editor

Students at Ormond Beach Elementary read over 50,000 minutes this summer for the Kiwanis READS! Summer Challenge, earning themselves a back-to-school ice cream party. 

The Kiwanis Club of Ormond Beach launched the Kiwanis READS! Backers 4 Books campaign on May 16. According to a press release, the campaign has three building blocks: "Build Home Libraries," "Build Classroom Libraries" and "Build a Culture of Independent Reading Throughout Ormond Beach."

“We were so excited to sponsor Kiwanis READS! the Summer Challenge, and Backers 4 Books for OBE students and teachers again this summer,” said Dillon Kalkhurst, Kiwanis Club president and local author, in the press release. "... It is important that we provide children the opportunity to choose books they want to read and recognize and reward them when they hit reading milestones.”

Recently, Kiwanis READS! sponsored a recognition assembly at the OBE auditorium, where the top student readers from each grade received a certificate for their efforts. The top readers were:

  • First grade: Charlie Howells, Rex Cooper and Knollen Alley
  • Second grade: Kayleigh Massengill, Ava Yanc and Emma Tussey
  • Third grade: Thomas Martino, Takoda Quinn and Mackenzie Padgett
  • Fourth grade: Tabitha Smith, Laila Garland and Alexander Sobkowiak
  • Fifth grade: Ava Van Leuven, Aleira Brooks and Rylee More
    The top three readers from each grade in the 2022 "Kiwanis READS! Summer Challenge" are recognized on stage at Ormond Beach Elementary. Courtesy photo


Fourth grader Tabitha Smith was the top reader in the whole school, having read 2,428 minutes over the summer. Fellow fourth grader Laila Garland came in second, with 2,153 minutes and in third place came first grader Charlie Howells with 2,057 minutes. Over 75 students participated in the summer challenge, and read a combined total of 50,275 minutes, the press release states.

Teachers were also recognized. Fourth grade teacher Candace Haynes received a $50 gift card to use at the back-to-school book fair, and Kiwanis additionally donated $450 so every teacher could buy books as well. 

Ice cream for the party was provided by Neighborhood Scoop, of Ormond Beach. 

A 131-year-old dress

One dress. Six generations.

Carol McLean Boatner, Holly Anne Stephens, Lindsay Stephens Hawkins and Eleanor Hawkins, who sports the family heirloom dress. Courtesy photo

A local family have handed down a 131-year-old crocheted dress, and during a family member's recent 85th birthday, the youngest of them continued the tradition.

On July 27, Carol McLean Boatner of Holly Hill, celebrated her 85th birthday with her daughter, Holly Anne Stephens of Ormond Beach, granddaughter Lindsay Stephens Hawkins of Jacksonville, and great granddaughter 4-year-old Eleanor Hawkins, who wore the vintage dress for the first time. The dress was made in 1891 by Stephen's great great grandmother, Ida Riggs Chappell. It has been worn by all three women, and appeared in articles in the Daytona Beach News Journal in 1964 and 1985. 

The dress was featured in a 1964 article in the Daytona Beach News-Journal. Wearing the dress is Holly Anne Stephens, when she was 4-and-a-half years old. Courtesy photo

Semifinalists announced

Two Ormond Beach students were named semifinalists in the 2023 National Merit Scholarship program.

Matthew Monroe, Spruce Creek High School Principal Todd Sparger and Rishi Patel. Courtesy photo

Matthew Monroe and Rishi Patel, students at Spruce Creek High School, are two of over 16,000 semifinalists in the 68th-annual National Merit Scholarship program, which means they will advance in the competition for one of 7,250 scholarships worth nearly $28 million, to be offered next spring, according to a press release. About 95% will obtain a "finalist standing," and about half will win a scholarship. 

Congratulations Matthew and Rishi! 

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