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Hurricanes Choose PUBAR Winners

by Paul Branecky / Carolina Hurricanes
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The Carolina Hurricanes named Kingswood Elementary fifth-grade student Abby Zeugner as the first-ever winner of the Pick up a Book and Read essay contest at a special awards luncheon on Thursday afternoon.

Zeugner, one of five finalists  who read their work aloud at the RBC Center’s Champions Club, won first prize for her essay on The Giver by Lois Lowry.  This year, over 1,100 students participated in the Hurricanes’ Pick up a Book and read program, which is designed to help area 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students achieve their reading goals.

Aubrey Nagle (4th Grade, Baileywick Elementary), Grace Yun (5th Grade, Kingswood Elementary), Cameron Hyrb (4th Grade, Baileywick Elementary) and Allie Sekulich (5th Grade, West View Elementary) rounded out the final group of students.

Stormy, Scott Walker, first-place winner Abby Zeugner and Community Development Manager Doris Barksdale

For their outstanding efforts this year, each student received a gift certificate to The Eye, the Hurricanes’ official team store in the RBC Center.  In addition to winning second place in the essay competition, Nagle also received a Hurricanes home jersey for finishing the year as the top reader in her grade.

A panel of volunteer judges comprised of Hurricanes staff members evaluated the essays based on how well each student used their writing to summarize and express their opinions towards of a book of their choosing.

Along with proud teachers and parents, Carolina right wing Scott Walker, the official spokesperson for the program, Hall of Fame radio broadcaster Chuck Kaiton and Stormy were also on hand to congratulate the students and share with them the importance of reading.

”It’s extremely important when you’re young and I don’t think you always realize how much reading is going to affect your life,” said Walker.  “It enhances your life so much to be able to read some really interesting books and it can take you to some places you might not be able to go.”

It was a successful year for the Pick up a Book and Read program, with a total of over one and a half million pages read in 31 different elementary schools.  This year marked the first time since the program was founded eight years ago by Hurricanes' Community Development Manager Doris Barksdale that the essay component was included.

Reading is the key to education, and in the elementary schools is where the reading starts,” said Anne Nelson, community relations senior coordinator for the Hurricanes.  “If we can take our brand and lend it to reading, then that’s what we want to do.”

For more information on Pick up a Book and Read, visit the program’s Web page.

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