Lake Zurich school reading event raises $5,300 for those in need
Regular class work at Issac Fox Elementary School in Lake Zurich stopped early Friday afternoon for 60 minutes of reading dubbed "the Reading Power Hour," a charity event proposed by a student that raised $5,300 for Heifer International.
Students, teachers, secretaries and administrators could all be found reading from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. The younger students were read to at first by school staff and then later by parents who came in to be guest readers. To maximize student comfort, children were allowed to wear their pajamas and bring in pillows and blankets, which some used to make forts to read in.
Brogan Brown, the 11-year-old fifth-grader from Lake Zurich who thought up the plan, said his teacher let him walk the halls to see his idea in motion.
"I just saw everybody reading and you could barely hear a sound in the hallways," Brogan said. "I really liked it."
Erin Brown, Brogran's mother, said weeks ago she and Brogan were reading a pamphlet they got at their church from the charity organization Heifer International, which donates farm animals and other essentials to communities in need. One of the fundraising ideas in the pamphlet was called Read to Feed, where students pledge to read for a certain amount of time in exchange for donations to the organization. Within a few days, Brogan had pitched the idea to school principal Lisa Gregoire.
Gregoire said Brogan's idea was well-timed because the District 95 Educational Foundation was encouraging schools to do charitable events.
"I suggested it to the PTO and they thought it was a great idea," Gregoire said. "The goal was to raise enough for a gift ark, which is $5,000, and we raised $5,300 and some change."
Gregoire was being literal about the change -- one girl donated a huge bag of coins she'd been saving.
Isaac Fox Elementary is a kindergarten through 5th grade school with 578 students.
The gift ark funded by the event includes two water buffaloes, two cows, two sheep and two goats, along with bees, chicks, rabbits and more. The ark provides entire communities with milk, eggs, honey and wool to use and sell.
Brown said she was so proud of her son for having the idea and of the community for pitching in.
"I think that this is an awesome thing to instill in these small minds, to think outside themselves and let them know they can help others in need," Brown said.