Widefield School District 3 honors late principal through read-a-thon

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COLORADO SPRINGS — Talbott Steam Innovation School’s Friday was filled with colors of purple and lime green, and a touch of daisies.

It was a few of their late principal’s favorite things; Tracy Vsetecka passed away one year ago.

“Her motto for life was ‘live, laugh, love’ and so, that’s our love quote for the day,” said Diane Fox, principal of TSIS.

To honor Vsetecka’s memory and the legacy she left behind, Widefield School District 3’s Positive Action Team started a new initiative: The Tracy Vsetecka Read-a-Thon.

Students were pumped to read.

“I actually love reading, I do it every day! Reading is for pleasure, and plus reading brings in a whole world of imagination, it helps you visualize, especially if it’s at your reading level or at least past it. And eventually, the more you start reading, the more imagination you get. And that can be useful later on,” said 11-year-old Samantha Sampsel, a 5th grader at TSIS.

For the entire month of February, students will be immersed in literacy, leading up to Read Across America Day.

“She was very passionate about literacy, and so every child here at our school, received a birthday book on their birthday. And so, as an honor to her, one of my first things as principal was to extend that and now, not only do children get birthday books, but so do our teachers in honor of Tracy,” Fox said.

Reading was a big part of lesson plans Friday.

Kindergarteners read to 5th graders, who were ready to help.

“I just gave her at least a few questions, or examples and would sound it out, so that way she could try saying it right again, so we can continue on with the story,” Sampsel said.

In March, medals will be given out to the top readers of each school.

“It’s not an easy job to step into, you’re filling really big shoes. And all along the way in this journey of taking over a school that has been in grief, I have told them from the very beginning that I hold Tracy’s hand in our shared mission to make sure that our kids are immersed in literacy,” Fox said.

And students are helping to keep Vsetecka’s hope alive.

The District has put together a scholarship in Vsetecka’s honor, which will go to a D-3 graduate at the end of the year.

Click here if you’d like to donate to that scholarship.

“Reading is knowledge, reading is power,” Sampsel said.

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