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Greenland Pines Scores Big Returns
on Celebrity Reading Auction

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Excitement is in the air as Greenland Pines students participate in celebrity reading auction.

For 13 years now, on a cool April morning, more than 100 fifth-grade students at Greenland Pines Elementary School in Jacksonville, Florida, have pulled out their "money" to bid on Jim Carrey, Chris Rock and Michael Jordan memorabilia in the school's Celebrity Reading Auction. Greenland Pines students have been reading for pleasure since August to accumulate a "penny" per page in play money that was used to bid on items donated by celebrities, politicians, professional sports teams and local businesses. Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton served as auctioneer and shared with the students that this is one occasion in which "it pays to read because the top readers have the money."

Debbie Luke, Greenland Pines' 2003 Teacher of the Year, brought the idea to campus 13 years ago, and since then, it has flourished. "The celebrity auction inspires kids to read," said Luke. "It's such a fantastic event, and each year, it just keeps getting better."

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(Left to right) Debbie Luke, Mayor John Peyton, Principal Minnie Smith, and Donna Hulsey.

Greenland Pines' PTA, parents and volunteers contacted more than 1,000 celebrities, companies and organizations. Almost 150 items, such as gift certificates, autographed celebrity photographs and prize packages of posters, stickers, trading cards and CDs, were auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Kathleen McQueeney earned $131 by reading 105 books, more than 13,100 pages, each book at least 100 pages. Cody O'Neal used $50 of his money to buy one of the hottest items--an autographed picture of Mayor Peyton and a visit to the Mayor's Office. The "Principal for the Day" prize, which came in a close second at $49, usually draws the highest bid in the event.

"The Celebrity Reading Auction is one of the biggest motivational tools I've seen as an educator," said Principal Minnie Smith.

For more information on Greenland Pines, visit http://www.educationcentral.org/school/249.