Mesquite ISD Third-Graders Take Title in ‘Read to the Final Four' Competition

The NCAA 's 'Read to the Final Four' encourages third-graders to read their way to a different kind of March Madness finals

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Thursday morning the American Airlines Center in Dallas was buzzing with Final Four March Madness. Some of the competitors aren't in college yet.

The NCAA's 'Read to the Final Four' is a literacy competition among DFW area 3rd-grade classrooms. Students logged as many minutes reading as they could to make it to the 'Final Four' and a field trip to the AAC to find out who won the coveted 'Read to the Final Four' title.

"So Read to the Final Four is one way for us to go into the local communities and make an impact," said NCAA Associate Director of Inclusion Education & Community Engagement, Victor Hill.

"So many of the children, the teachers, the districts are so competitive. We thought it would be a great way to bring reading to the forefront," Hill said.

James Bowie Elementary and TG Terry Elementary from Dallas ISD, Prestonwood Elementary from Richardson ISD, and Seaborn Elementary from Mesquite ISD were the finalists. Students sat on the edge of their seats as the winner was announced. Then Seaborn students screamed and cheered as they were proclaimed this year's winner.

"Honestly, it's the greatest accomplishment I've ever got," third-grader Ogooluwakitan Onifade said. "My teacher has to stop me from reading books!"

"Every day when I get home I read like at least 30 pages," Ayline Ybarra said. "Keep going. Don't give up!"

"Not only does it help get them motivated and engaged in their reading, I mean they're very excited and they're very competitive," Seaborn Elementary Principal Renea Kern said. "And really, when they get out of school and be leaders in their community."

Students had a chance to stay and watch warm-ups for some of the Women's NCAA Final Four teams. The games begin Friday.

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