Wilton public school students raised approximately $40,000 through the Wilton Education Foundation (WEF)’s fifth annual Reading Rocks! program.

Reading Rocks! is an annual program designed to get students excited about reading and help raise funds for WEF, which uses the money to purchase items like SMARTBoards and iPads for Wilton’s public schools. Since its inception, the program has raised $200,000.

Superintendent Kevin Smith said Reading Rocks! is “an essential program that brings the community together in a very unique way to demonstrate the importance of falling in love with reading.”

“I am grateful to WEF and to all of our staff who commit to supporting this powerful initiative,” he said.

Incentives were offered at each school — by grade at Miller-Driscoll and by house at Cider Mill — based on the percentage of involvement.

In a random drawing among participants based on the number of obtained pledges, one iPad was given away across grades preK-5 and one Kindle Fire was awarded per grade at Miller-Driscoll and one per house at Cider Mill.

This year’s iPad grand prize winner was Cider Mill student Tanner Schmauch, who said he loves “reading in front of the fire, raising money to help his school and “winning an iPad.”

Kindle Fire winners were Graham Begnal, Jimmy Czik, Maggie Dugan, Morgan Kowski, Paige Leung, Claudia La Orden and Quin Silva.

"Reading Rocks! allows for my kids to get support from friends and family while celebrating and dressing up at school with the excitement of an iPad at the end of it all," said Tanner’s mother, Mandi Schmauch.

On Friday, Jan. 22, students and teachers at Miller-Driscoll and Cider Mill dressed like rockstars on Dress Like a Rock Star Day to celebrate the Reading Rocks! program, which kicked off with concerts at both schools.

Miller-Driscoll students were treated to a performance by Black Tie Affair, which is comprised of Wilton High School seniors Tristan Clark, Will Comer, Elliot Connors and Tommy Crimmins; while Cider Mill students enjoyed a concert led by teachers Frank Coomaraswamy, Tim Gallo, Ken Hayashi, Andrew Pearson and Kate Sheehan, with the help of a guest drummer.

To learn more about Reading Rocks! and WEF’s other programs, visit wiltoneducationfoundation.org.