Redbeard walks the plank

Inspired by a “Pirates — Seek Treasure in a Good Book” theme, pre-K through second-grade students at Paul Banks Elementary School set a record with their 2014 readathon: 160,650 minutes read since Jan. 12, said teacher Wendy Todd, an organizer of the event.

Maybe it was the theme. Maybe it was the promise by Redbeard the Pirate, aka Principal Eric Pederson, to walk the plank if the students read 120,000 minutes.

In any event, Redbeard made good on his promise Feb. 4. With Homer temperatures hovering between 17 and 34 degrees, he walked the plank in full pirate regalia and plunged into a tank of water to the delight of the youngsters.

Topping the list of most-read minutes at each great level were:

• Preschool: Etta Bynagle, 900 minutes;

Kindergarten: Lars Peterson, 1,620 minutes;

• First grade: Brennan Steen, 5,130 minutes;

Second grade: Tristan Demlow, 2,940 minutes.

In addition to encouraging students to become avid readers, the event also is a fundraiser with students’ family members and friends making pledges that are used to purchase books and pay transportation costs for school-related events, such as field trips. Pledges have yet to be collected, said Todd.