Last month students at Payson Junior High enthusiastically took up their principal’s challenge to read at least 26 minutes a day for 26 days as part of Payson Junior High’s Second Annual Principal’s Reading Marathon Challenge. Mr. Swenson, the principal at Payson Junior High and an avid runner and finisher of several marathons, challenged the students at PJHS to read 26 minutes a day for 26 days prior to this year’s St. George Marathon which he and Mr. Burton, an English teacher at PJHS, ran. The students that took up the challenge by reading for 26 minutes a day and documenting their reading were entered into the Principal’s Reading Marathon Challenge drawing, and they were also allowed the opportunity to guess the finishing time for Mr. Swenson’s and Mr. Burton’s marathon.
Said Mr. Swenson regarding the challenge, “It is always exciting to see so many students work hard on an academic goal and a healthy lifestyle goal. Reading is a very important lifelong skill, and it is also important to learn good healthy lifestyle habits as well.” He went on to add, “The Principal's Reading Challenge goes hand in hand with the English department's encouragement to read every day. Students will do better in school and increase their academic success if they read each day.”
Hundreds of students participated in the challenge, and over twenty students won prizes through the Principal’s Reading Marathon Challenge drawing. Several students commented that reading 26 minutes a day was not too challenging because they read that much and more everyday for their reading requirements at the school. Many students are also participating in the school’s 40-book Club, which is a challenge to read 40 books by the end of the school year, so they were eager to add to their page totals by participating. Mr. Swenson and Mr. Burton were very pleased with the amount of enthusiasm and participation that came from the students, so to keep the tradition going for a third year, Mr. Swenson and Mr. Burton are contemplating running another marathon next year.