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Fifth-grader Sarah Bryan wins $10,000 in reading contest

“Diving into a book (is) my escape-from-reality time,” fifth-grader Sarah Bryan said about reading. Her composition and retention skills brought her $10,000 in real cash.

Sarah Bryan accepts her $10,000 check at the GoDaddy.com contest finale in Mobiile. (Photo contributed)

Bryan, a student at Heritage Elementary School, won the GoDaddy.com Bowl Reading & Writing Contest.

Bryan’s three-page book report on “The Hunger Games” included characterizations, setting descriptions and a critique. “‘The Hunger Games’ is a piece of writing that had me mesmerized from the first page. This novel will always be an original masterpiece,” Bryan said.

The book’s suspense, emotion and extreme violence caused Bryan to view life differently. “This novel has transformed me into a stronger person,” Bryan said. “I could really feel the energy coming from the story.”

Bryan’s teacher, Lindsay Shelton, told her class about former student Allan King winning this contest in recent years. “Knowing that someone just like me had won allowed me to understand that I did have a chance,” Bryan said.

“As soon as I read Sarah’s book report, I knew she was going to be a top 10 finalist,” Shelton said. “I even told her that I thought she was going to win the whole contest. ”

Each year, Shelton assigns the contest, also affiliated with Hoar Program Management. “All students must complete the book report but submitting to the contest is optional,” Shelton said.

After ranking in the Top 10, Bryan received another book to read, “Rules” by Cynthia Lord. Bryan and other finalists wrote their book reports on “Rules” at the contest finale in Mobile on Dec. 10.

“My past and present teachers have all taught me that to be a good reader you have to try and imagine in your mind what the story is trying to tell,” Bryan said.

Madison Board of Education congratulated Bryan at its Dec. 13 meeting.

“Sarah is a bright student and gets along with everyone,” Heritage Principal Dr. Lydia Davenport said. “She has a talent for writing and speaking. We are very proud of her.”

Sarah’s parents are Jim and Carolyn Bryan and her sister Hannah is a seventh-grader at Liberty Middle School.

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