Akron’s Our Lady of the Elms Triumphs in NCAA Read to the Final Four Program

NCAA Read to the Final Four program

In anticipation of the upcoming 2024 NCAA Women’s Final Four at Cleveland’s Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, the NCAA and the Cleveland Local Organizing Committee have honored the winners of the Read to the Final Four program, aimed at fostering a love for reading among elementary students.

The initiative, structured akin to March Madness, engaged thousands of third graders from Greater Cleveland in a spirited reading competition over nine weeks. Over 115 local schools participated, collectively devouring more than 13.5 million minutes of reading material.

The top four schools emerged triumphant, with Our Lady of the Elms School in Akron clinching the crown. Accompanied by Hannah Gibbons-Nottingham School in Cleveland, Austinburg Elementary, and Fernway Elementary in Shaker Heights, these schools collectively devoured over 1.3 million minutes of reading material. Our Lady of the Elms secured victory with an impressive average of 13,770 minutes per student.

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Their dedication earned them a host of rewards, including a Scholastic books library refresh, tickets to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and an exclusive Studio 525 experience at the Cleveland Public Library. Each third grader from the Final Four schools received a prize package featuring items from the NCAA, NASA, and Scholastic.

Lynn Holzman, NCAA’s vice president of women’s basketball, praised Cleveland’s fervor for reading, noting the exceptional commitment demonstrated by local students. David Gilbert, president and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, emphasized the program’s long-term impact on the community, lauding the thousands of students who participated and highlighting the bright future it signifies for Northeast Ohio.

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