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FNSB Mayor Jim Whitaker to present awards to Alaska children

Submitted by Tammy Tragis
Phone: 907-474-1890


Former state legislator and current Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Jim Whitaker will present awards to first-, second- and third-place Alaska winners in the 14th annual Reading Rainbow Young Writers & Illustrators Contest.

The awards ceremony will take place May 6 at 4 p.m. in the UA Board of Regents conference room in the Butrovich building on the UAF campus. Students, their families and their teachers will participate via videoconference from Anchorage, Juneau and Sitka.

Sponsored by the award-winning PBS television series "Reading Rainbow," the contest attracted 60 entries from around Alaska and more than 40,000 entries nationally. Kindergarteners through third-graders entered by creating an original story with illustrations and submitting it with an official entry form to KUAC/AlaskaOne.

Judges for this year's competition were Noel Wien Library Public Services manager Mary Ellen Baker, KUAC/AlaskaOne Community Advisory Council members Gary Bender and Alice Palen, IDEA director Tim Cline and UAF student Fawn Carter. Entries were judged on originality, creativity, storytelling and integration of copy with illustrations.

First place--"My Giraffe Explores the World" by Alexis Cornell of Fairbanks
Second place--"The Turtle" by Kristen Abramowicz of Fairbanks
Third place--"A Little Boy Picked Apples" by Breeauna O'Rear of North Pole

First grade
First place--"Officer Chicken Wing" by Dylan Schaffnit of Sitka
Second place--"Trees Come Alive" by Calvin Fenner of Sitka
Third place--"Friends Forever" by Lauren Pickard of Sitka

Second grade
First place--"Microraptor" by Lars O'Hara of Fairbanks
Second place--"The Butterfly" by McKayla Berry of Salcha
Third place--"Moose About the Neighborhood" by Jania Turney of Anchorage

Third grade
First place--"A Whale Tale" by Kimi Williams of North Pole
Second place--"My Grandfather" by Nathanial Watt of Juneau
Third place--"My Dancing Ballet Doll" by Brittanie Hames of North Pole

"The students take pride in their accomplishments and feel a sense of ownership in their stories," says Tony Conforti, first grade teacher at Baranof Elementary in Sitka. "This year our school librarian is including our books in our school library. My class is really excited about the idea of other students checking out the books that they have written."

This is the seventh year Conforti's first grade class has participated in the contest.

Airing weekdays at 1 p.m. on AlaskaOne, "Reading Rainbow" builds lasting friendships between children and books. The contest builds on the program's mission to stimulate a child's interest in reading and AlaskaOne's mission to educate every generation. Each child who enters the contest receives a special certificate signed by program host LeVar Burton. Entries of the four first-place winners have automatically been entered in the national level of the contest and will compete with winners from around the country. National winners will be announced later this summer.

CONTACT:Tammy Tragis-McCook at 907-474-1890 or tammyt@kuac.org.

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