Knox Bandarii, a sixth grade student at C.C. Pinckney Elementary School, poses with his family and Randy James, his math and science teacher, after being surprised as a winner of his school's annual Reading Prize Patrol, March 2. 

Pinckney reading patrol surprises students

Story, photos by Robert Timmons, Fort Jackson Public Affairs

A long line of cars flashing their lights and honking their horns in the housing area March 2 signaled a singularly Fort Jackson semiannual occurrence – a vaunted prize patrol from C.C. Pinckney Elementary School.

This day the school’s Reading Prize Patrol snaked through on-post housing to honor students and promote increased reading skills.

Pinckney offers two prize patrols each school year; one in October focusing on math and another in March that highlights reading. The nexus of the patrols centers on application and generalization of school based practices into real-world living.

“The prize patrol builds school-to-home relationships,” said Kerrie Ammons, C.C. Pinckney’s speech pathologist. “Most importantly, it reminds us that growing and learning is fun and should be celebrated.”

All students have to do to be eligible is fill out an entry form pledging the students and their families will read together.

The multi-level process starts when students return their entry forms, which are divided by grade level. Then, each entry form is assigned a number. The winners are chosen by a random generator. The school announces the winning numbers, but not the student names, as the prize patrol is a surprise event and students must be home to win.

The Reading Prize Patrol gifts were provided by a grant the school recently received.

The National Educators Association provided the Federal Education Association funding through its Read Across America grant program, Ammons said.

“Grant monies were used to purchase hardback books for students as well as reading games that encouraged standards related growth,” she said. “We were also able to include some fun items like Read Across America T-shirts, bookmarks, booklights and pencils.”