The Alabama Education Association (AEA) has proudly announced the 2023 winners of its esteemed “Be a Champion and Read” contest, a statewide initiative promoting literacy among K-6 students across Alabama. This year, over half a million students from every school district in the state participated in the challenge, which required reading six books appropriate for their reading level.
The unique contest annually crowns two winners, one each from Team Alabama and Team Auburn, aligning with the state’s famous football rivalry. This year’s Team Auburn winner is Alysa Hatchett, a fifth grader from Beulah Elementary in Valley, Alabama. Representing Team Alabama is Caleb Harrison, a sixth grader from Clanton Intermediate School in Clanton, Alabama.
In a thrilling reveal, both Alysa and Caleb were surprised with the announcement in front of their classmates during school assemblies. Enhancing the excitement, Auburn’s mascot Aubie presented Alysa with her award, which included a signed autograph from Hugh Freeze. Caleb received his award from Alabama’s mascot, Big Al, along with a signed autograph from Nick Saban. Additionally, both winners were gifted tickets and sideline passes to the Iron Bowl, along with two guest passes.
This impressive contest, now in its tenth year, saw an extraordinary participation of 37,000 students in 2023 alone. AEA President Dr. Susan Williams Brown expressed her enthusiasm about the impact of the contest, stating, “This contest has shown yet again that tens of thousands of Alabama elementary school students are fired up and excited to read. Established in 2011, the Be a Champion and Read contest aims to motivate young students to develop a love for reading, a crucial building block for learning and skill development.”
The AEA’s commitment to fostering a reading culture among Alabama’s youth continues to shine through this contest, making it a celebrated annual event in the state’s educational calendar.