Teacher Amy Hathaway high-fives Brantley McMahon after a "stock car raing" heat last Friday in Plato.

Plato kindergarten students put on a show last Friday in the 12th annual “Race to Read” stock car event in the school district’s new gym.

Dozens of youngsters wearing cardboard “cars” competed in several heats around a “track” on the gym floor. Some of the cars’ designs were detailed and intricate.

Teacher and event organizer Amy Hathaway said the event’s origin can be traced to a light-hearted feud between she and another teacher.

“We were arguing about who was better, Mark Martin or Carl Edwards,” Hathaway said. “We decided to incorporate our friendly bantering into a learning experience.”

The young students had to make a car at home and it should include their name, a number and sponsors (using environmental print).

“We worked hard to always learn the color words before the race day,” Hathaway said.

“This year we are even reading more as we did the race much later in the year.”

Hathaway said local racers have often gotten involved.

“We have been lucky most years to have our local racers come bring their racecars to school,” she said. “The Todd families, the Waters families, Donnie Miller, and Jeremy Hazel as well as a few others have brought in their cars over the years for the kids to climb into and observe.”

ONLINE: See video from the “Race to Read” event at www.houstonherald.com

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