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ADAMS ELEMENTARY IN CARY KICKS OFF READING CHALLENGE

Adams Elementary School students sat on the floor of the gym, laughing at one man: Doug Hooper. The school’s teachers and administrators typically discourage this kind of behavior. But who can blame them when their gray-haired, clean-shaven school principal dons a blonde wig, gold earrings and a fluffy fake goatee?Hooper dressed up as TV personality Guy Fieri and moderated “Minute to Win It”-style contests between students and teachers on Friday in an effort to build excitement for the school’s “reading challenge.”If Adams Elementary students read for a combined one million minutes by May 23, they’ll get another chance to poke fun at their principal. Hooper promised to do something outlandish – like kiss a pig – if students meet the goal.“If you meet my challenge, I’ll meet yours,” he told the gym full of students.More importantly, if each student reads at least 20 minutes a day – what it would take for the school to reach a million minutes by May 23 – they’ll likely be better-equipped for end-of-grade tests.Third-graders, specifically, could benefit most from the challenge. Their reading exams come with higher stakes this year: Third-graders who fail the reading exam risk having to take a six-week summer reading camp or being held back, according to a state law passed in 2012.

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