Season championship night at the Jackson Speedway in Jackson, MN, is long past and Matt Spies of Spirit Lake, IA was crowned as the track champion for the 3rd time in his career in the 360 Sprint Division. A crowning of a champion is always ...
Season championship night at the Jackson Speedway in Jackson, MN, is long past and Matt Spies of Spirit Lake, IA was crowned as the track champion for the 3rd time in his career in the 360 Sprint Division. A crowning of a champion is always exciting, especially when it is a popular local driver like Matt Spies, but it also signals the end of another summer spent at racetracks and a return to school work for many of the young fans that frequent the grandstands throughout their summer vacation.
This year, however, due to a concerted effort of many forward thinking elementary school teachers, Jackson Speedway promoter Jon McCorkell, and Spies himself, the children will not have to be so far removed from the racing scene while they wait for the final race of the year on September 29th. The "Revved Up to Read" program has been instituted at the Spirit Lake Elementary School in Spirit Lake, IA and will reward students in grades Kindergarten through 4th who meet their reading goals a free pass to the 9th Annual Fall Classic on September 29th as well as a Two-For-One Pass for their parents.
The idea to combine racing and reading is new to Spirit Lake, but 4th grade teacher Lisa Roti explains where the staff got the inspiration. "About two years ago, I saw an article in the Des Moines Register where a school in Des Moines had done this program with Nascar, and I thought since we had Jackson Speedway so close and some of the driver's children in our building, it would be wonderful to pull all these things together" Roti explains.
McCorkell also liked the program and was happy to get involved. "She called me up and said that she had an idea for a reading program and I said that I'd love to do that and help out in any way that Jackson Speedway can. She had this idea for a motivational program and it sounded like a good deal. I know how important it is for the kids to work on their reading skills, and Jackson Speedway is happy to be as supportive as possible of any program involving kids."
Roti adds that the whole school is involved in the program. "For the whole month of September, we have a racing theme throughout the building. Many of the teachers have decorated their rooms with a racing theme, and we have a giant racetrack in lunchroom and the building goal is 200,000 minutes of reading. Each week, we will see where the kids are on that racetrack."
In addition to the month long reading program and the culmination at the Fall Classic, there was a kick off assembly on Tuesday, September 4th, in the parking lot to get the students excited about the reading program. Spies described the event. "We brought the sprint car down here, and we had an assembly outside a little while ago. I had my driving suit on and all that and said a few words. Then, the kids came over and looked at the car, and we just passed on the message to read, read, read."
Spies was not only chosen for the promotion due to his on track success, but also because of his involvement in the local community and school system. "I live here in town, and I've got kids in elementary school and a lot of the kids are wearing my t-shirts and other racing shirts. Mrs. Roti even had my daughter Sam once upon a time in her class."
The 'Revved Up to Read' program should be an exciting opportunity for children to get a chance to attend the races at the Jackson Speedway free of charge and be doubly rewarded for their time spent reading. As Roti tells, "The kids are very excited. Racing is so thrilling to start with and since we are able to couple it with reading, it is just a total win-win." Kudos to all involved for giving this project the green flag.
The 9th Annual Fall Classic is taking place on Saturday, September 29th at the Jackson Speedway and will feature 360 Sprints, Modifieds, Stock Cars, Hobby Stocks, and a special Non-Wing Sprint exhibition. Racing action will start at 5PM.