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Record-Setting "Read with the Gamecocks" Segment a Hit

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Excited cheers rang through Colonial Life Arena all afternoon Wednesday as several thousand area school children watched South Carolina Women's Basketball take on South Carolina State at a special noon tip-off time. The field trip to the game was part of their reward for participating in the first segment of this year's "Read with the Gamecocks" program. There are three total segments each year (there's still time for schools and organizations to participate in the third segment, click here for more information)

Over 6,000 students from 46 schools and one organization read over two million pages from October 31 through November 11. The total was a new program record for pages read and a 90% increase from the first segment last year. The top readers at each participating school received awards and the top readers from each grade level statewide received plaques and were recognized on the court at halftime.

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Click here to check out more photos of the winners on the court at halftime.

The overall winning school was Burton-Pack Elementary from right here in Columbia. Almost the entire school participated and as a whole they read 282,009 total pages. About 470 Burton-Pack students, dressed in matching t-shirts by grade, attended Wednesday's game. Rose Stevens, the school's reading teacher, served as program coordinator and promoted the entire school getting involved, complete with decorating her door with a Gamecocks and reading theme.

"We did it last year and we had some very high readers, but we thought that this year we would try to be the top school, and we are! The children are very excited about it," said Stevens. "Reading is so important and you can do that all the time, at any time, and I'm thrilled we got the whole school to participate."

Students from Burton-Pack enjoying the game.

Click here to see more fan photos from Wednesday's game.

Women's Basketball hosts Savannah State next on Wednesday, December 21, at noon in Colonial Life Arena.

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