Darlington Raceway has once again partnered with the Darlington County School District (DCSD) in a multi-agency summer reading program designed to emphasize the importance of reading and combat summer learning loss for students in Darlington County.
Nearly 1,000 DCSD students in kindergarten through eighth grade participated in the summer reading program in 2017, which involves Darlington Raceway, the Darlington County Library system, and South Carolina Future Minds in a districtwide effort.
For the past seven years, thousands of books have been read in the county as a result of the partnership between Darlington Raceway and the school district.
In 2017, many of the top summer readers in each grade (K-8) received a field trip to Darlington Raceway on Friday of race weekend. The students participated in activities provided by ScienceSouth of Florence, received lunch from Bojangles’ and enjoyed a visit from seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson.
“This is the seventh consecutive year we’ve partnered with the Darlington County School District with a reading program,” Darlington Raceway President Kerry Tharp said. “The program is a great way for children and teens to continue to read throughout the summer months and receive rewards for doing so.”
The top readers in this year’s summer reading program will also take a field trip to the track on Friday, Aug. 31, for a full day of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series practices.
“We wholly appreciate Darlington Raceway, the Darlington County Library System and South Carolina Future Minds for supporting summer reading in Darlington County School District,” said Dr. Tim Newman, DCSD superintendent. “With their help, we can continue to combat summer learning loss. We are extremely fortunate to have the support of these local institutions.”
During the summer reading program, students in kindergarten through eighth grade will read books and then take Accelerated Reader (AR) tests at any of the local branches of the Darlington County Library System. The Darlington County Library System has computers available for the tests and specialists who can help guide students to the appropriate books as well as set them up with the AR tests. Each grade level will have specific point goals.
When the program concludes in August, all students who reach their AR point goals will be rewarded with a special field trip. In addition, the top three readers in each grade will earn the special trip to Darlington Raceway to for a once-in-a-lifetime experience at the track’s legendary Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500 race weekend.
Darlington County has also built a strong relationship with the South Carolina Future Minds, a 501(c)3 organization, which benefits teachers and education. On May 2-3, track president Kerry Tharp attended the organization’s “Teacher of the Year” ceremonies and made a $5,000 donation to the group as a result of the track selling old grandstand seats from its current “A Better Darlington” facility enhancement project. South Carolina Future Minds donated books to students at Lamar and Rosenwald Elementary this year in Darlington County.
The summer reading program is just one of many partnerships Darlington Raceway has supported over the years as part of its youth initiatives. It also offers one of the best kids’ ticket packages in the industry with 12-and-under half-price for any seat to the Bojangles’ Southern 500.
Darlington Raceway PR/Photo courtesy of the DCSD