Parades most often are reserved for national holidays or championship-winning sports teams.
But the pupils of Riverside Elementary School recently held a parade to honor a schoolmate whose feat -- accumulating 1,000 Accelerated Reader points -- surpassed all of her peers.
On April 14, Shair Sekhar donned a paper tiara and marched through the hallway of her school holding balloons while accepting applause and high-fives from her classmates.
The school often conducts parades for Accelerated Reader students reaching such milestones as 100 points earned, but Shair earned a solo parade promised to her by school officials for hitting the 1,000 mark.
"She was accumulating so many points, when she reached 500 points we told her if she got to 1,000 she would get a parade of her own," said Riverside Media Specialist Melissa Britton. "It was one of those things where we were half joking, half serious. We wanted to encourage her without putting on too much pressure."
With that incentive in mind, the 9-year-old said she made it a point to continue her voracious reading.
"I had a lot of points (already) when the principal told me if I could get 1,000 points I could have a parade and might get in the newspaper," Shair said. "So I've been reading a lot every day."
In fact, Shair reads about two hours each day.
"I like reading because I can picture everything I'm reading about, so that makes it interesting," she said.
During this school year, Shair has read at least 114 books and passed the Accelerated Reader tests by an average grade of 97.
In her five years as a media specialist, Britton said she's never seen anything like Shair's commitment.
"Getting to 100 points is hard, and I have some students who have reached 300, but no one comes close to Shair," Britton said.
"She's a third-grader reading at a fifth- or sixth-grade level. It's amazing."
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