Schoolchildren in Columbia County had three reasons to celebrate last week.
President Bush proclaimed Nov. 11-17 National Veterans Awareness Week, and it was also American Education Week and National Children's Book Week.
Evans Middle School began the week with a Veterans Day ceremony featuring Perry Smith, a retired Air Force major general and Augustan who works as a military analyst for TV networks.
Columbia County School Superintendent Tommy Price, who was at the event, said it is fitting that these weeklong celebrations coincide.
"An educated society is the key to our democratic concepts, so I think it is appropriate that we recognize the significance this week of what our teachers do," he said.
Smith recalled the bravery and sacrifice of his father-in-law, Jimmie Dyess, an Augusta native who is the only American to receive the Carnegie Medal and Medal of Honor. He died during World War II.
"I think it is important to look at him and say, 'That's the kind of guy I would like to be like,"' he said.
Martinez Elementary students Tara Sharpton (left) and Summer Delrie enjoy time to read in their first-grade class. After reaching their goal to read 1,400 books the students got to "Cuddle Up With a Good Book" by wearing pajamas or by bringing their favorite stuffed animal on Friday.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Following the theme of National Children's Book week, Get Carried Away ... Read!, Martinez Elementary School pupils decorated Kroger bags to show how they get "carried away" by a favorite book.
Pupils through third grade were challenged to read 1,400 books, and pupils in fourth and fifth grade read 35,000 pages. As a reward, they were able to "cuddle up with a good book" on Friday by wearing pajamas to school. Fourth- and fifth-graders wore their favorite hats.
South Columbia Elementary School celebrated the week with children giving book reviews and inviting guest readers.
"Reading is one of the best ways to learn," said Penny Hodges, an event committee member. "We want our students to celebrate the freedom we have in our country that affords our citizens the right to an education and to use all kinds of books."
Grovetown Elementary pupils celebrated the week with an art exhibit at local businesses, and Bel Air Elementary's third-graders presented the play Get Up and Grow on Tuesday.
At Brookwood Elementary, pupils guessed the titles of books after staff members read excerpts over the intercom each morning. Parents were also invited to get in on the fun Friday. The school held a book picnic, at which participants stretched out on beach towels in the hall to read a book or magazine.
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