HASTINGS, Minn. -- "This is the day we've been waiting for!" exclaimed fourth grade teacher Bryana Carlson.
Her students were among those filling the gym at Kennedy Elementary School in Hastings, ready for their Alphabet Parade.
Third and fourth grade strutted across the stage, outfitted in a costume to represent a chosen word. Students clapped through the extravaganza that might make Halloween look tame.
It's part of a larger, months-long effort to boost student interest in literacy.
"Beyond Imagination is a celebration of literacy," said Carlson.
The idea was inspired by a literacy project in the Northfield School District.
Organizers won a $4000 grant from the Hastings Public Schools Foundation to bring in local author Debra Frasier for a two-day residency. She worked with students in grades K through 4 at the school as they developed writing projects for "Beyond Imagination."
The written works also inspired works of art, which adorn hallways throughout the building.
"Ais really a child's voice in their writing," said 3rd grade teacher Jaci Cobian. "They way they paint, the colors that they choose. It really helps symbolize who they are."
The culmination of the project is an evening when families and community members are invited to the school to read with students, view their work, and celebrate students' achievements.
Second grade teacher Karen Davidson sees it as an opportunity for the entire community.
"I think this is a perfect opportunity for us to say, look at what is workin, look at how excited our kids are," said Davidson.
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All rights reserved.)