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Painted faces, blue balloons and gift bags were early rewards for more than 100 youngsters who completed Gov. John deJongh Jr.’s Summer Reading Challenge program as they gathered in the recreation building in the D.C. Canegata Ballpark on St. Croix Sunday.
The speakers, honoring the students who had read five or more books this summer, included Malcolm McGregor, assistant to the governor; Marie Encarnacion, deputy commissioner of the Department of Education; and Ingrid Bough, territorial director, Libraries, Archives, and Museums,emphasized the long term rewards.

The Fun Day for the youngsters marked the closing of this year’s governor’s Reading Challenge program now in its third year.

The program was launched on May 18 and was open to the territory’s public and private school students between kindergarten and 6th grade.

The students were to read five books on-line, hardbacks and paperbacks by local authors that were distributed at libraries and educational events. Denisha Asson, a 9-year-old student at Claude O. Markoe Elementary School, said she read 35 books. She said being in a challenge made reading fun.

The students were called to the stage one by one and awarded ceremonial medals on a yellow ribbon.

The Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge is a partnership of the Office of the Governor, the Department of Education, the Virgin Islands Public Libraries and Learn-It Systems Corporation.