The Wilton Education Foundation recently wrapped up this year’s “Reading Rocks!” program, and proved its continued success in raising money for the Wilton Public Schools. Now in its fifth year, the program netted close to $40,000, organizers say. Since its inception, Reading Rocks! has raised $200,000.

The Reading Rocks! fundraiser encourages children in grades preK-5 to have fun while reading in a non-competitive manner, while raising money for WEF, and therefore the Wilton schools, in the process.

“Anytime we can build on the foundation of reading with our children is a great opportunity to instill a passion for reading. Reading Rocks! allows for my kids to get support from friends and family while celebrating and dressing up at school with the excitement of an iPad at the end of it all,” says Mandi Schmauch, whose son, Tanner, participated in the program and was the iPad grand prize winner.

Tanner, a student at Cider Mill School, adds, “I love reading in front of the fire. I love raising money to help my school and I love winning an iPad! Wow, I still can’t believe I won just for reading!”

The program has the backing of the school district’s educators and administrators, from teachers all the way to the top with Dr. Kevin Smith, superintendent of Wilton Public Schools.

“The WEF sponsored Reading Rocks is an essential program that brings the community together in a very unique way to demonstrate the importance of falling in love with reading. I am grateful to WEF and to all of our staff who commit to supporting this powerful initiative,” Smith says.

Incentives were offered at each school by grade (in Miller-Driscoll) and house (in Cider Mill) based on the percentage of involvement. Through a random drawing among participants based on the number of pledges gleaned, WEF gave away one iPad across grades preK-5 (to Tanner Schmauch), and awarded one Kindle Fire per grade at Miller-Driscoll and one per house at Cider Mill. Kindle Fire winners were Graham Begnal, Jimmy Czik, Maggie Dugan, Morgan Kowski, Paige Leung, Claudia La Orden and Quin Silva.

As part of the program, students and teachers alike were also able to dress like rock stars on “Dress Like a Rock Star Day.” New this year were kickoff concerts at both schools. Students at Miller-Driscoll were treated to a performance by Black Tie Affair, a band comprised of Wilton High School seniors Tristan Clark, Will Comer, Elliot Connors and Tommy Crimmins. Students at Cider Mill enjoyed a concert led by a group of teachers including Frank Coomaraswamy, Tim Gallo, Ken Hayashi, Andrew Pearson and Kate Sheehan, with the help of a guest drummer.

The Wilton Education Foundation thanks the Stroup family for sponsoring this program.

Reading Rocks! co-chairs Julie Steckel and Rebecca LePage shared, “We feel privileged to be a part of Reading Rocks!, a program that simultaneously celebrates literacy and encourages children to read, and gives back to our schools.  We are so grateful for the support of the administration, teachers, volunteers, families and students.  They are all integral to the success of our program year after year.”

The Wilton Education Foundation provides funding for Wilton schools to help enrich students and prepare them for college and beyond. Learn more on the Wilton \Education Foundation website.