MORRISTOWN, NJ - On March 2 Hillcrest students danced with their favorite green dragon to celebrate Read Across America Day.

The dancing dragon was brought to life through the commitment of Hillcrest students to read, read, read! In so doing, they came to know that reading can bring all sorts of colorful adventures to life. 
"The Hillcrest Dragon Parade culminated our school wide reading incentive program on Read Across America Day" said Greg Sumski, Principal of Hillcrest School. "Beginning in early February, our Media Specialist, Mrs. Patricia Sutton, taught her classes about Chinese New Year celebrations.  The excitement and enthusiasm continued throughout the two-week program, with our students reading 1,050 books!"

Each time a Hillcrest student read 5 books a shiny green scale was added to a pale 8 foot dragon that that waited patiently outside the school library. As books were read, scales began to appear on the dragon, and smaller dragons and handmade masks suddenly came to life in classrooms throughout the school.

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"The green dragon symbolized Hillcrest’s school color, energetic spirit, and love of reading", Principal Sumski explained.

Over the course of 10 days, Hillcrest's kindergarten through 2nd grade students devoured 1,050 books. Suddenly, the once-colorless dragon was covered from head to tail with 210 gorgeous green scales. Students and staff celebrated the magical transformation by marching to the gym with their classroom dragons and newly-made masks for a festive celebration. One particularly convincing class dragon artificial smoke billowing from its nose.
"I read a story about a dragon who had smoke coming out of her nose," said one first grade student. "You can learn a lot about dragons and other things by reading, you know," she added.