HERMISTON - "Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!" sang the bell.

"We have 66!" hollered Shari Wick.

"Woo! Hoo!" squealed the class.

They were determined. The students in Wick's and Melissa Purswell's second-grade classes at Highland Hills Elementary were going to read 100 books Friday - the 100th day of school in Hermiston.

With every completed book and its corresponding test, Wick rang the bell and the students wrote their number on the board.

Over the course of 20 minutes, the class added numbers 67, 68, 69 and 70 to the list.

"We should do this every day," Wick said. "They're so excited."

Wick said she remembers kindergarten classes celebrating the 100th day of school by releasing 100 balloons.

"I don't know if we've just gotten too busy or stressed out, but we stopped celebrating it," she said.

So for the last three years, her class, and now Purswell's class too, has celebrated the 100th day.

On Friday, students brought in 100 snacks each - things like Mini Oreos and Coco Puffs. They even "purchased" their snacks with $1 each, and had to work the math to get them. They later practiced math equations that equaled 100. They listened to a story about what it was like to live 100 years ago, and are writing stories about what it would have been like to live back then themselves.

But the biggest part of the day was reading 100 books.

Students hunkered down beneath tables and desks, or curled up in corners on beanbags with buddies and read their books all Friday morning and part of the afternoon.

Second-grader Alexis Phillips read "Freedom Cat" and "The Museum" before attacking "Dear Diary" in her pile of books.

Second-grader Nathan Sanders had passed one of his tests and was ready to go on to the next right before lunch time.

"It's cool to read all day," he said. "I just like to read."

Teri Meeuwsen is a reporter in the East Oregonian Hermiston Bureau. She can be reached at (800) 522-0255 (ext. 1302 after hours) or by e-mail tmeeuwsen@eastoregonian.com.

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