For the privilege of wielding a razor on Dublin Elementary School Principal Michael Steeg's beard, fifth-grader Jon Boggs, 10, read 125 books; fourth-grader Scott Rakowski, 9, read 121 books; and second-grader Michael Conrad, 8, read 124 books.

Above, Conrad takes the razor to his principal's chin. At right, Sally Bunce, the PTA president,gives Steeg a sign and a crown to commemorate the event.

Steeg, principal at Dublin for exactly a year, thought it was so important for his students to read he issued a challenge Jan. 7: Steeg bet his 280 students they couldn't read 2,500 books before March 7.

As you can see from the pictures, the students won the bet. They read 5,762 books -- more than twice the number needed to win. The three students who read the most books collected on the bet Monday.

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