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Principal Skydives After Students Read Their Way To Victory

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(credit: CBS) Tracy Perlman
Twin Cities native Tracy Perlman is an Emmy Award-winning producer and...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Educators use all kinds of incentives to motivate their students, but this may be the most extreme.

Principal Kip Lynk, of Eden Lake Elementary in Eden Prairie, presented a challenge to his students last month.

They were given Olympic-themed reading activities, and each activity correlated to a medal. Classrooms became countries and students racked up medals by learning about Olympians and different nations.

If the school could earn 14,000 medals, Lynk said he would skydive to celebrate. The kids were stoked, and spent all of their free time buried in books.

“I really wanted to see him jump out of an airplane,” said third-grader Maggie. “So my mom helped me.”

After a month, the hard work of 850 students paid off, and it was time for Lynk to suit up at Twin Cities Skydive in Forest Lake.

The company doesn’t usually fly this time of year, but they made an exception for this special situation.

After a quick one-on-one lesson on falling, it was wheels up. Lynk’s jump was from 11,000 feet — all in the name of education.

While the kids read for hundreds of hours, Lynk’s end of the deal took just five minutes. The bet ended with a splash and a lesson the kids won’t soon forget.

Along with the reading challenge, students also collected $10,000 in the read-a-thon. Most of that will go towards Impact Lives for a food packing event.

The school’s Parent-Teacher Organization expects students to pack more than 44,000 meals. The rest of the money will go towards a staff grant program to help teachers get extra classroom materials.

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