Otto the Orange visits E.A. McAllister

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SHERRILL — Dancing down the hallway, high-fives, and signing autographs were part of the atmosphere as Otto the Orange visited E.A. McAllister Elementary School In Sherrill last week to kick off the school’s March Madness Reading Program.

Otto, the mascot for Syracuse University’s athletic teams, drew cheers and high-fives from students lining the hallways as he ran past doing dance moves, spinning and clapping in his appearance following a kickoff assembly, the Vernon-Verona-Sherrill school district said.

After that, he visited each classroom for pictures, hugs and autographs, the district added.

“It’s nice because he’s a well-known icon that every student is familiar with. Everyone gets excited about this reading program, and this was a new way to kick off our March Madness,” said Jessica Buckingham, a member of the Fun Committee/Celebration of Learning Team that organized the program.

The committee especially thanked the McAllister Elementary PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) for assisting with the donation for Otto’s visit and making such a special day possible, the VVS district noted.

The overall reading program includes fun theme days and activities to get students excited about reading. As an added reading incentive, the top class will win a pizza party and the chance to play Pie Face against teachers.

Fun Committee/Celebration of Learning Team member Cindy Cashman said “This is a great way to get the whole school excited to read. The kids like the spirit of it and the competition is something they look forward to. Each week, we have fun theme days like crazy socks, stripes and polka dot and sports attire.”

During the kickoff assembly, students heard speeches to start the program with positive energy, said the VVS district. Teacher Dan Relyea told students “books take you on vacations that you’ve never been on. They put you in movies where you are the star, and they give you beliefs and dreams that you can achieve anything.”

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