The Lake County Public Library Foundation recognized first-place winners of the annual read-a-thon at Avalon Manor in Merrillville on May 11, 2011. Foundation President Marti Ross poses with the winners and their trophies: Shirmara Anderson, Antionette Ulrich, Anthony Sharp, Lucas Ramsey, Madison McDaniel, Mitchell Walsh, Joey Russo, Adam Walters, John Moon, and Amelia Marshall. Not shown is winner Sam Parkes. Each year the Foundation encourages schools in Gary, Merrillville, Cedar Lake, Dyer, Schererville, Griffith, Highland, Hobart, Lake Station, Munster, New Chicago, and St. John to promote reading. Children participate by seeking sponsors, then reading as many books as possible during the six-week read-a-thon. Once the money has been collected, schools receive one-third of the total raised by their students for their school library. This year, 1,257 children participated and nearly $22,000 was distributed to the schools. Trophies were given to all students who raised money and gift cards from book stores were given to students in first through eighth place.