By Mike McClure

The North Laurel Early Learning Academy Bull Pups were guests of honor at last Wednesday’s Laurel School Board meeting. 

The board was also updated on the Teach Rural Foundation’s upcoming Spring Fling.

Shown (not in order) are the North Laurel Early Learning Academy’s top readers during I Love to Read month: Pre-K: Travis Johnson (73), Blaire Jenkins (140), Piper Phillips (50), Grace Betts (129), Jacob Barr (150- third place entire school), Avery Rieley (29), Karrah Lynch (73), Cade Lay (22); kindergarten- Gayson Smiley (21), Storm Blanchfield (88), Malachi Evans (27), Mazie Gainer (81), Elizabeth Betts (105), Leo Spence (45), Jazmine Gordy (158- first place entire school), Timothy VanMatre (76), Hudson Serrano- (156- second place entire school), Kaden Lynch (73). The committee members are Jenny Beck- chair, Stacy Puerto, Kari Green, Lindsay Parsons, Elizabeth Lynch, and Mallory Steele. Not everyone is pictured. Submitted photo

North Laurel Early Learning Academy Principal Kedra Deputy announced the names of the top readers from I Love to Read Month. The theme was “Reading is my Jam”.

Deputy said nine percent of students tested at their goal during the fall assessment. Seventy seven percent of kindergarten students increased their scores when they retook the test. Students also read a total of 4,278 books in February.

Board President Linda Hitchens applauded the video series “Between Two Bulldogs” which is hosted by Superintendent Dr. Shawn Larrimore. Laurel grad (1991) Chad Alvarez came up with the concept and films the series.

“I am thrilled that we are bragging on our students,” said Hitchens.

Alvarez later spoke during public participation as the acting treasurer of the Teach Laurel Foundation. The foundation was started by Larrimore, Alvarez, and two other Laurel graduates to address teacher shortages in small towns like Laurel.

The foundation will hold its inaugural Spring Fling on May 11 from 6-10 p.m. at the Laurel Fire Hall with musical guests Mike Hines and the Look. Funds from the event will go toward the recruitment and retention of highly qualified teachers. Visit for more information.

The next school board meeting will take place April 17 at 7 p.m. in the Laurel Middle and High School cafeteria.