West students win iPads, iPods after Prize Patrol visit
By Sarah Campbell
MT. ULLA — Cassidy Arntsen was speechless when she walked into her classroom at West Rowan High School to find the “prize patrol” waiting to give her an iPad on Tuesday.
She threw her hands over her mouth before grinning from ear to ear.
“I can’t wait to call my mom,” Arntsen said. “I don’t even have an iPod, so this is pretty great.”
The freshman was one of four students at the school who received a surprise visit from the group made up of administrators from the Rowan-Salisbury School System.
The prize patrol traveled around the county Tuesday, rewarding students for their winning entries in the district’s contests that coincide with its weeklong literacy initiative dubbed “Reading Matters.”
Contestants in the iRead contest were asked to demonstrate what iRead means to them.
Students got creative doing everything from making videos for the multimedia division, painting for the visual category and writing short stories for the literature division. Winners received an iPad, while students who earned honorable mention got an iPod.
Three students won Kindles for having the top T-shirt design. The T-shirts will be sold at every school, with a portion of the proceeds going back to the school media centers.
It took Arntsen about four hours to finish her entry, which she describes as an art project inside a video.
“It’s a picture movie,” she said. “It starts off as a fragment and just keeps growing.”
Arntsen also recorded a song for the video using GarageBand.
Her brothers, Austin, 19, and Noah, 10, inspired her to enter the contest.
“They are really into making movies so they’re kind of the pros,” she said. “They helped me figure out the camera stuff.”
Arntsen said was shocked to receive the prize Tuesday.
“I didn’t think I would win,” she said.
West Rowan sophomore Kevin Shaver and senior Molly Cogburn were also surprised to receive an iPad for their projects.
Shaver created a comical video about how reading comes into play in everyday life.
“For instance, going to the bathroom,” he said. “One sign says men and one sign says women, but you wouldn’t know that if you couldn’t read.”
Shaver said he thought humor was a good avenue to pursue.
“I like watching funny things and a lot of other people do, too,” he said.
Shaver said he’s looking forward to using his iPad for “anything its capable of,” including surfing the web and reading.
“All I have right now is an iPod Shuffle and it doesn’t have a screen or anything,” he said.
Cogburn wrote her winning poem in a matter of minutes, about 15 to be exact.
“I was sitting at the beach and I thought ‘I feel like writing,’ ” she said. “I went out on the balcony with the ocean and just wrote.”
Cogburn said on the surface her poem is about a girl who can’t read, but it resonates deeper than that.
“The gist is that there was this girl who was going to try out for a play and she loved the costumes, the makeup, the acting, but she couldn’t read the script to try out,” she said. “It follows her thoughts.”
Cogburn said her iPad could come in handy down the road.
“I want to be a writer, but I don’t usually write whenever I feel like it, I usually write for school,” she said. “I may start writing poems on (the iPad) in my free time.”
All the prizes for the contest were donated.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.