Magnolia Elementary School in Joppa, MD was the site of an exciting Ben Carson Reading Room opening on Nov. 5, 2010. After Principal Patricia Mason provided a very warm welcome, a boy and girl from each grade marched in, each carrying a U.S. Flag and standing at attention in the front of the room, while we all recited the pledge of allegiance.
Fifth-grade students Megan Wolf, De’jon Nowell, Deonta Johnson and Tahjae Williams emceed the program. Mrs. Laura Pohlez led the 5th grade chorus in the Jackson 5 chart topper “I’ll Be There.” CSF Co-Founder Candy Carson made a presentation as well. Mrs. Carson told an inspiring story of how reading can help people overcome adversity and become successful.
The business of reading is taken very seriously by this school, as they have their own school poem about reading, entitled “Readers Promise.” In the poem, students promise to read “Each day and each night.” This poem was recited by the entire student body. Sponsored by Stack & Store Mini Storage, co-owner Phyllis Friedman spoke on how the Reading Rooms were originally started, and shared thoughts of when she was a young student and how much she enjoyed reading.
The Readers’ Theater Club, a recently organized group of students, dramatically portrayed Dr. Benjamin Carson’s life very well, while one of the students narrated a synopsis of the biography “Gifted Hands.” This was followed by Dr. Carson’s comments on video which not only charged the students to “THINK BIG,” but included thanks to all the organizers for their efforts to make this happen. The dignitaries then cut a ribbon in front of the assembly.
Each Reaching Room is unique. The organizers of this room decided that the room should facilitate the students’ interest in reading by helping them focus on the books and not decorated walls; therefore, the decorations are subtle. The “THINK BIG” acrostic is embossed on the walls near the ceiling like shadows, to impact the students’ peripheral vision and help them keep that idea in mind. The colors are muted, but relaxing. A fabric mural of supportive hands reaching upward to inspire children to lift their dreams to the highest heights is displayed on one wall, while four frames showcase various students’ artwork, emphasizing the fact that it is their special place. These artistic statements are changed periodically to encourage as many budding artists as possible! Ivy plants twine around the supports between the walls and ceiling, for an outdoorsy feel. And soft pillowed sofas and chairs make this a relaxing, reading haven!
Special thanks to Stack & Store Mini Storage for their sponsorship and to all the volunteers.