Wood Elementary's Math Prize Patrol visits 40 families, 60-plus students

WEST COLUMBIA, SC -- At Wood Elementary, it’s a most wonderful time of the year -- and not just because of the holidays.

This is the time when the Math Prize Patrol heads out into the community for surprise visits to 40 families and more than 60 Wood students -- all in a single night. Each special home delivery includes a pizza, soda and a bag of math goodies, such as rulers, paper, white boards and markers, dice, math flash cards and more. This year’s event was held last week.

Wood Elementary’s Math Prize Patrol is a favorite tradition that’s been going strong for more than 15 years -- and it’s so popular that the school has expanded it to include surprise home visits in the spring. Families are sent an invitation to sign up for a chance to be selected for a visit from school administrators and teachers. The program helps build a special bond between school and home.

"The Prize Patrol is so much fun,” kindergarten assistant Cindy Zeigler said after last week’s event.  “We enjoy getting to know each other while we’re riding to the houses. Just seeing the students' smiling faces when we drive up at their houses is so rewarding."

One of those smiling students was first-grader Cherokee Blackwell.

“I liked when I got all those prizes,” Cherokee said. “I was so surprised!”