5th grade teacher goes above and beyond in reading challenge

As the old song goes, “on the roof it’s peaceful as can be. Hudson Falls 5th-grade teacher Jocelyn Lawrence got to see just how true those words are this week, as she spent a night camped out on the roof of the Intermediate School. “I have always wanted to go up on the roof, just to see what it was like,” said Lawrence. “I was very excited to just be up there!”

It was part of a challenge she made to the school’s students. If they showed up for the read-a-thon, she would spend a night in the cold. “When my students learned that I was going to accept the challenge,” said Lawrence. “They all signed up to stay after-school to read!”

photo shows boys and girls laying and sitting on gymnasium floor reading books
About 150 students took up the read-a-thon challenge this year!

On Thursday, October 10th, about 150 4th and 5th graders volunteered to stay and read a book of their choice. They read nonstop from 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm except for the occasional snack break. Each student brought their books, pillows, and blankets. The Hudson Falls Parent Teacher Association provided snacks for all the students.

photo shows children laying on gymnasium floor reading books
Students brought their pillows, blankets, and pajamas for the read-a-thon

So the next week, Lawrence pitched her tent with the help of Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds Dave McKeighan. “The students were so excited as they left school and saw me up there,” said Lawrence. “I heard a lot of laughter and saw many smiles!”

photo shows woman sitting on roof in camp chair
Lawrence greeted students Wednesday morning from the roof!
photo shows woman wrapped in blankets seated in camp chair next to tent
Lawrence was well-equipped for her night on the roof!

As the next morning dawned, Lawrence sat in her camp chair and greeted the students as they arrived for school. She said some warm coffee from her thermos, and a blanket helped thaw her out. “The best part was I wore my pajamas to school the next day so it was a perfect excuse for my students to have a pajama day as well!”

photo shows students dressed in pajamas
Lawrence’s class had a pajama day to celebrate her accomplishment!

This is just the latest act to help encourage the students to read. Last year, Principal Mike McTague volunteered to get slimed if students answered a similar challenge. “As educators, we need to find ways to get kids excited and want to learn and want to be at school,” Lawrence said. “I hoped by volunteering I could be part of creating a memorable experience for the students of the Intermediate School.”

Lawrence credits fellow teacher Joy Lindsay with leading the read-a-thon. “Ms. Lindsay did an amazing job organizing the read a-thon and she came up with the challenge for me. I’m just as excited to see what she has in store next as the students!”