by Lisa Tome
Matt Lowder knows how to get teens to read.
Lowder, teen librarian at North East Branch Library, led a book discussion group for seven teen girls recently, the theme was "Books Gone Hollywood". During the discussion, the teens were so excited that they would interrupt one another cautioning "shhh - don't spoil the ending."
There was no penalty for loving to read. Instead, the readers were rewarded with chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate.
The Chocolate Olympics, with stars M&Ms, Oreos, pudding cups, and Hershey Kisses got underway after the book discussion. The participants, all students who attend North East middle and high schools, were up to the challenge.
"This sounded like fun. I love chocolate," said Emily Miller, 15.
Lowder explained that the olympic games were not being held for any particular reason. There was no focus on learning or science, technology, engineering, and math. "It's just straight up fun," said Lowder. "We're going to be stacking Oreos, counting M&Ms, and catching Kisses."
The first activity had the teens breaking into teams. Two were designated throwers, two others were designated catchers. The goal was to throw Hershey Kisses 18 feet into a cup. The winning team caught 33 Kisses. The reward went to everyone who participated. They got to eat the chocolate.
"This sounded too fun and chocolate makes me happy," said Alicia Bosley, 15, as she took a break during the competition.
The next contest had two members from each of the teams sorting M&Ms by color. The 12.6 ounce bags were quickly divided and the winning team received ear buds.
The final round of competition had the teens circling tables with pudding cups perched on their heads. If the cup fell, they had to start over. Once they made their lap with the pudding, they then had to make a tower of Oreos.
The winning team was declared and everyone got to eat the creations.