Students blast off for Readasaurus party, put principal in ‘space prison’

Gannon Jones, principal at Ephraim Elementary, was “punished” by students for his unwillingness to support their reading goals during the school’s annual Readasaurus birthday celebration. Jones’ punishment was to be interred in “space prison,” a bumper ball that students rolled around the gym and threw socks at.


Students blast off for Readasaurus

party, put principal in ‘space prison’


By Linda Petersen

Staff writer

Feb. 8, 2018


EPHRAIM—Students at Ephraim Elementary recently had the chance to “blast off with a good book” during the school’s annual birthday celebration for the school mascot, Readasaurus.

Reading is very important at the school, so 37 years ago school officials decided to choose Readasaurus as the mascot and to celebrate his birthday each year with a daylong reading party.

For the celebration, students got to dress in their pajamas or spaced-themed costumes.

The day began with a kickoff assembly where, dressed as an astronaut, Librarian Shauna Wayman arrived via her “space shuttle” at a place she called Planet EES to celebrate the occasion with the “Readasaurians.”

Miss Ephraim X then read a proclamation naming the day the Readasaurus Celebration, and music specialist Mary Witt led the kids in the official Readasaurus song and a rendition of Happy Birthday.

Throughout the assembly, Jones was noticeably absent, something that drew the “astronaut’s” attention.

“Where is your leader?” she asked the kids.

Wayman called up Jones’ second-grade son Body who admitted his dad “was not himself.”

Just then, the curtains opened to reveal Jones in a cloak and mask, looking suspiciously like Star Wars bad guy Kylo Ren.

Jones, who claimed he was Kylo’s brother Kyle, told the students he was so full of fear that students would reach their reading goal and of what would happen to him if they did, that he was pulled over to the nonreading side where he had found the cool cloak and mask.

The astronaut then promised “Kyle” there would be consequences for his actions and sent him into “outer space.”

Throughout the day, students worked to bring those consequences to pass through reading toward their goal—252 rings of a large gong in the office. (Each class had to read 15 minutes to strike the gong.)

During that time, they enjoyed visits with guest readers, including Snow College athletes, Miss Ephraim and Manti High School students.

Each class visited the library where each student got to choose a free book and bookmark as birthday-party favors. Snow College athletes were on hand to autograph the kids’ books.

During lunch, the PTA sponsored space-themed games, and birthday cake was served. A boy and girl in each class who reached their goals were chosen as winners.

At the end of the day, at the closing assembly Jones appeared minus his mask.

His kindergarten son, Carter, who had received a power booster (because there is power in reading), challenged him to a light-saber battle, which the principal lost.

At that, Carter ordered his father to “snap out of it,” which he did. He admitted that, despite being the leader of Planet EES, he had been under the nonreading influence of Kyle Ren.

Students were quick to mete out his punishment and sent him into orbit—in a bumper ball that they got to roll around the room while selected kids from kindergarten, first and second grade threw sock balls at him.

“Okay, I’ve learned my lesson,” Jones finally told the kids. “I won’t ever discourage reading again. I’m proud to be your leader.”

Wayman, who put the event together, said it is a lot of work. But, she added, “When you see the excitement of those kids to want to read and reach that goal and their thrill when they get to choose and take a book home to keep (which some may not have at home), it’s thrilling.”