By Max Hrenda
A Unaka Elementary School student’s hard work paid off this week when she received a special gift from one of Carter County’s most famous sons.
On Thursday afternoon, eighth-grade student Savannah Pressinell received a commemorative football signed by Dallas Cowboys tight end and Elizabethton native Jason Witten for finishing first in a school-sponsored reading competition.
Unaka Principal Betsy Oliver, who devised the competition, said her main goal was to provide her students with extra motivation to help them practice their reading skills.
“You can’t get better at anything unless you practice,” Oliver said. “The goal of the whole project was to get the kids reading, showing a love of literature, and to promote raising our test scores.”
The Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program is the state’s main tool in determining a student’s progress in subject areas. To assist with reading scores, Unaka uses a specialized line of books known as Accelerated Reader.
“Accelerated Reader helps with comprehension, which is tested on the TCAP,” Oliver said. “Whoever read the most AR books and passed the test would get the Jason Witten football.”