When a school is selected to receive a Ben Carson Reading Room, the project typically is a school endeavor. That was not the case in Gorman, Texas. In Gorman, the project was enthusiastically embraced by both school personnel and community members. Therefore, a collaborative, awe-inspiring reading room was created.
On Wednesday, November 5, 2014 students, faculty, parents and community members gathered in the Maxwell Elementary auditorium for the opening day ceremony of the Ben Carson Reading Room. School Superintendent, Gary Speegle, began the program and provided background information on Dr. Ben Carson. Superintendent Speegle explained, with over 110 reading rooms located in schools across the nation, Gorman’s is the fourth reading room to be located in Texas. Gorman’s reading room also serves as a milestone – as it is the first of its kind to be opened in a rural area!
To view the entire reading room opening album, click here.
Gorman students actively participated in the ceremony. Fifth graders of Maxfield Elementary presented T-H-I-N-K B-I-G, Dr. Carson’s formula for success. Each letter represents an important value or ideal that is crucial to not only achieving goals, but also living in a way that is beneficial to both the individual and those around him or her. Students from kindergarten through twelfth grade dressed as their favorite characters from beloved books, including well-known literary figures such as the Cat in the Hat, the Mad Hatter and Katniss Everdeen. The students introduced both themselves and the characters they represented, and also shared what reading meant to them.
A highlight of the program included a personalized video greeting from Dr. Ben Carson himself. Dr. Carson acknowledged those who made Gorman’s reading room possible, and gave an inspiring message to the students. Dr. Carson explained how reading was a significant factor in his journey from poverty to success, and also emphasized the importance of individual responsibility.
Another highlight was hearing from author, former Gorman resident and second grade teacher Nana Vaughn. Mrs. Vaughn, author of the children’s book Differant The Overcomer, explained the joys and benefits of reading.
Gorman’s reading room would not have been possible without the efforts and support of caring community members. Individuals, as well as committees comprised of local volunteers, were recognized and thanked for their significant part in bringing this wonderful opportunity to the students. The program was followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony and reception. Guests were invited to tour the forest-themed reading room, which is located in the Maxfield Elementary Building. The room boasts a collection of over 2,300 fiction and non-fiction books of every genre. Children can sit in Adirondack chairs and read by the glow of the faux fire pit or rest beneath the branches of a willowing tree.
Hellen Keller once said “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” This was certainly the spirit of the Ben Carson Reading Room at Gorman ISD.