REYNOLDSVILLE — Students at C.G. Johnson Elementary School in Reynoldsville were greeted by Principal Dr. Edward Dombroski from the roof on Friday as a reward for the 111,610 minutes of reading they completed.

Dombroski created his own reading challenge for all the students at his school to encourage more reading. The first time he tried this was two years ago, when he challenged the students to read 923 books in six weeks, for the address of the school, 923 Jackson St.

“Because reading is such an important life-long skill, I enjoy challenging students with these types of fun activities. The classroom and Title I teachers were instrumental in encouraging students to read for this program,” Dombroski said. “Title I and classroom teachers were phenomenal. They had little charts with my emoji on it and they tracked their minutes on those and in their Google classrooms.”

Dombroski joked that the weather was the same chilly and windy day two years ago when he was last on the roof for the students.

He wasn’t able to do anything last year because of the pandemic, but brought the challenge back this year with a new goal. He challenged the students to read as many minutes as they could in the six-week period with incentives for different milestones.

Each of the different milestones were sending Dombroski up higher, with some of the milestones being the roof of a truck, to the roof of the school, or to the top of the Reynoldsville Fire Department’s ladder truck.

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The reading competition started during Read Across America Week, and included kindergarten through fourth grade. Dombroski created this challenge just for his students at C.G. Johnson. He said he couldn’t have done it without the help of the teachers.

“I do bus dismissal every night and so many kids will make comments, ‘I’m going home to read 30 minutes this weekend,’ so they really grasp it, they like the challenge. It’s fun,” Dombroski said.

The student’s ended up reading Dombroski to the roof of the school, coming in about 30,000 minutes less than the fire truck goal. The number of minutes was determined by the estimated height of the structure, and based on the age Dr. Seuss would have been this year –116 years old.

“Reading is just so important… I think when you add this element of a fun challenge, you’re supporting a great skill in a fun way,” Dombroski said.

He climbed to the roof of the school with a sign for his students, and stood above the front entrance where the buses drop students off.

“Next year we might have to change it up a bit. Some of the students have suggested kissing a pig,” Dombroski said.

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