A recent school districtwide read-a-thon was a huge success. It not only raised money for the San Ramon Education Fund but also inspired young students to pick up a book or to two or more and dive in.

It didn't hurt that they had a tasty incentive. Yogurtland sponsored the fifth annual event and provided their tasty, and everyone's favorite, yogurt to the top 10 classes with the highest percentage of participation. Jenny Raffield, project manager of the SRV Education Foundation and manager of this event, reported that 45 classes at 10 different schools qualified with 100 percent participation. Yogurtland generously donated yogurt parties to all 45 classes above and beyond their initial offer. Joyce Ng, marketing manager for Yogurtland in San Ramon, says this amounted to about 1,300 yogurts from the San Ramon store.

Raffield said there were 6,349 readers who participated in the three-week event from 23 schools in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, including 15 elementary, six middle and two high schools, an increase of more than 2,300 readers from last year. The students this year read a total of 4,332,343 minutes and raised a whopping $33,480.06, of which $29,409.20 went back to the schools.

Said Raffield, weekly raffle prizes and a raffle at the end of the event awarded gift certificates and merchandise including Nooks and iPad Minis.

The district's top reader was Vihan Ekanayake, a sixth-grader from Gale Ranch Middle School. He read 16,200 minutes. The top fundraiser was Jonathan Cheung, a sixth-grader from Windemere Ranch Middle School. He raised $500.


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Two top schools in the district included Gale Ranch Middle School with 90 percent of the student body participating in the read-a-thon. Iron Horse Middle School students raised the most dollars at $5,854.36.

FROM READING TO WALKING: About 386 students from seven San Ramon Valley elementary schools completed the Street Smarts challenge recently, logging more than 7,403 trips on foot and on their bikes, skateboards and scooters. The students walked more than 4,000 miles and biked, skateboarded and scootered more than 1,500 miles.

In an effort to encourage walking or biking to school to improve students' healthy lifestyles, reduce traffic congestion and reduce air pollution around schools, the Walk/Bike Challenge was introduced to the students by Street Smarts traffic safety campaign in San Ramon Valley. A collaborative effort among the city of San Ramon; town of Danville; Contra Costa County; San Ramon Valley Unified School District; the San Ramon Valley Council of PTAs; and community partners, Street Smarts addresses traffic safety problems and makes drivers, pedestrians and cyclists more aware of the issues.

According to Cathy DeLuca, a Street Smarts program coordinator, not only is walking and biking great exercise, but it is also exercise for the brain and increases students' concentration. The classrooms with the highest participation include:

Amy Miyamoto's kindergarten from Creekside; Lori Ransdell's fourth-grade class from Green Valley; Meghan Van Aken's fifth-grade class from Hidden Hills; Jenny Swanson's third-grade class and Quinn Daniels' fourth-grade class from John Baldwin; Jane Sun's first-grade class from Quail Run; Janene Littlejohn's second-grade class from Vista Grande; and Julie Windham's transitional kindergarten class from Walt Disney. These classes each received a gift card for a classroom party.

Grand prize raffle winners were: Kate Millis, Green Valley Elementary; Augi Madia, John Baldwin Elementary; and William Pierotti, Creekside Elementary.

Contact Monica Lander at landerfamily@comcast.net.