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story.lead_photo.caption Dyan Ingram, a fourth-grade teacher at California Elementary School, won this year's Read-a-Thon on April 5. The students who read the most minutes and earned the most money for the school had the chance to spend five minutes decorating three teachers and principals in over-the-top costumes for their reading and money-raising efforts. Photo by Liz Morales / California Democrat.

Ample time hitting the books was celebrated April 5 at California Elementary School for the end of the campus-wide Read-A-Thon.

Third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students gathered in the multi-purpose room to reap their rewards for surpassing the goal of reading 100,000 minutes. This celebration was divided into two grade sections: the third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students held the first event while the preschool, kindergarten and first-grade students enjoyed the second ceremony.

"You guys set really high goals for the Read-a-Thon," Principal Gary Baker said to his students. "And let me just say that you knocked it way out of the park."

Collectively, students spent around 140,000 minutes with their noses in a book and raked in $8,600 for the penny wars.

This time around, the reward for the students was a rather unique game of dress-up.

In front of the crowd of students rested five chairs. One chair was laid out each for fifth-grade teacher Teresa Dusenberg, third-grade teacher Andrea Hill and fourth-grade teacher Dyan Ingram. The last two chairs were meant to sit assistant principal Aaron Shewmake and Baker.

The students who read the most minutes in each grade and those who raised the most money in each grade were called up to the front for an interesting mission: to decorate their superiors.

The winners for this round of fun was Moriah Charles, fifth grade, who read the most minutes with 19,000. Nina Laczko, fourth grade, raised the most donations and sponsorships that will be used to benefit school events and supplies. Kellanne Loring, first grade, read the most minutes in her division, and Chloe Kilmer, first grade, raised the most donations and sponsorships in her division.

Behind the chairs were tables filled with frilly dresses, stylish shoes, festive boas and a seemingly endless supply of makeup. The goal for each winner was to deck out Dusenberg, Ingram, Hill, Shewmake and Baker in whatever accessories they saw fit. But they only had five minutes to create the most zany arrangement they could muster.

Five minutes of flying materials, scrambling feet and peals of laughter and encouragement filled the north wing of the elementary school.

When the five minutes were up, it was time to choose a winner.

Each member of the faculty that endured the makeover was to dazzle and wow the audience with their new looks. Whichever artistic display rendered the loudest applause won the competition.

Dyan Ingram won the colorful, rambunctious and all-around fun event. She spread her arms in majestic victory over her audience, donning a pink sequined dress and almost-too-large sun hat.

Baker ended the celebration with words of wisdom:

"Don't let the read-a-thon be the last and only time you pick up a book," Baker said. "Reading is so important. It doesn't just make you successful in school, but in your future jobs and in life."