Fourth-grade students Madison DuSoe, Ethan Stout, Halie Saylor and Emma McCrorey pose fr a picture with Matt Rudkin, a meteorologist with WSBT. Rudkin visited the students as part of WSBT’s “I Love to Read” challenge. (Submitted photo)
Fourth-grade students Madison DuSoe, Ethan Stout, Halie Saylor and Emma McCrorey pose fr a picture with Matt Rudkin, a meteorologist with WSBT. Rudkin visited the students as part of WSBT’s “I Love to Read” challenge. (Submitted photo)

Archived Story

WSBT meteorologist visits Sister Lakes Elementary

Published 8:00am Monday, February 10, 2014

It’s not every day that students at Sister Lakes Elementary receive a visit from the local TV station. Imagine their surprise when one of their visitors actually sat down and read a story to the entire school.

Sister Lakes Elementary was voted as one of this year’s schools to receive a visit from WSBT-22 on Friday as part of this year’s “I Love to Read” challenge. Station meteorologist Matt Rudkin read Janet Lawler’s Snowzilla to the children, who assembled in the school’s gym.

“The students were excited by the visit,” said Rachel Kyncl, a second-grade teacher at the school. “A lot of them probably didn’t know who the individual news people were, but they saw it as, ‘look, the TV guys are coming!’”

The station also handed out pencils to the students, and interviewed a number of them for their broadcast later that night.

The visit came as quite a surprise for both administrators and students. The school had just received word the previous day that they were registered as one of the schools eligible for one of the station’s daily visits for the contest, which runs through February. The vote was conducted on the WSBT website, where visitors can choose from the four to five schools nominated for the day.

“Being such a small school, word spread quickly,” Kyncl said. “Everyone from students to parents stepped up to vote for us.”

The school ended up receiving more than 9,000 votes, despite the fact it was up against larger schools in St. Joseph and Benton Harbor, Kyncl said.

“I think it’s great that we won,” Kyncl said. “We’re a smaller school with just more than 200 students, so for us to win against schools in much larger cities is exciting.”

Since the polls were only open for a few hours on Thursday, Kyncl and the rest of the staff received notice about the station’s visit only a few hours before their arrival.

“We were told about it around 6:30 a.m.,” she said. “We had to scramble to get the school in order before they showed up.”

Kyncl said that Sister Lakes has been nominated for the contest for the past seven years, and has won twice before Friday.

“I’m never surprised when we win, but it’s still very exciting for us,” she said.

In addition to the reading, WSBT also hands out awards to individual students as part of its “I Love to Read” competition. The students from classrooms that register for the contest are given calendars, which they use to chart their reading for the month. The top student at each grade level will receive a $50 gift card from the St. Joseph Public Library, while the top three classrooms will receive $250 gift cards.

Although Kyncl said no Sister Lakes student has ever received an individual award from the competition, she said she always registers her classroom for it.

“It’s a nice lead into reading month in March,” she said. “We can refer back to it when it’s time to kick off our festivities next month.”

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