Click here to see photos from the Barton Elementary School Reading Room Opening.
Barton Elementary School
The day was particularly sunny in Lake Worth, Florida, not only with sunshine from above, but with sunshine inside Barton Elementary school! Today is the day the ribbon would be cut. The school of 1,100 students (700 of whom are English as a Second Language students) is one of the most diverse schools in the country, with kids from 26 countries assistant principal, Mrs. De La Cruz opened the program with how proud they are of the diversity of students as well as diversity of teachers and staff! A quote from her childhood, set the tone for the day, “Today a reader… Tomorrow a leader “.
She was followed by fourth grader Beraca Albert a Haitian American who speaks 3 languages: English, Creole, and French! The poem she recited in French by Alexandrine Guillaume is entitled “Merci” which means “thank you” in English.
The 13 Barton Singers, dressed in green THINK BIG t-shirts, ascended to the stage, maintaining social distance while singing “We Are Unity”, followed by a medley combining “Wonderful World” (popularized by Louis Armstrong) and the more recent, “We Are the World “. The medley was accompanied by director/teacher Mrs. Aunya May on ukulele.
Candy Carson’s remarks again included information on how powerful each brain is and how limitless its capacity! She also urged the students to make sure they have all the “building blocks” in place for each of their subjects, to gain a full understanding of the material. “If you do not understand something, you can go back to where you did understand, and read from there, or you can ask anyone in this room to help you find the answer, because we all care enough about you to put in a reading room to help you become the best you can be. And if we do not know the answer, we’ll direct you to where you can find it!”
Next Mrs. Judy Passov, the vice president and secretary of BallenIsles Charities Foundation related the mission of that foundation to better the communities around them. She also expressed how much she enjoyed being on the grants committee since it affords her the opportunity to help with initiatives like the new reading room to help students develop themselves to their full potential.
In the video that followed, Dr Carson shared what it is like to be a neurosurgeon and his history of overcoming his low grades in elementary school to become the top student in his class. The reading program his mother required when he was 10 solved the problem! His closing statement was one to inspire: “Read actively and always THINK BIG!”
Principal Denise Sanon closed the program with her story that as a child in New York, how much she loved reading and what a difference that made in helping her achieve her successes! She sees the reading room as another tool to help the future be even brighter for all who pass through Barton Elementary’ s doors!
The Reading Room
The words “adventure awaits” frame one of the doors in the all-encompassing room, where there are several themes to encourage the students to dive into a book and explore! One wall sports airplanes from various flight eras to lift thoughts heavenward with the concept of ‘the sky’s the limit’! And there is a nook with a colorful world map wall mural echoing the whimsical depiction of the world (with native animals) in the carpet. The adjacent wall of encouraging words, “Be the change you wish to see in the world “, celebrates the diversity of the school, and the idea that each person is welcome and has the potential to make a difference with their successes. Another area’s wall’s artwork has flags from many countries from all over the world coming together to form a heart, where the center is ‘PEACE’… bringing to mind how as all countries work together, respecting each other in love, we can achieve global peace!
And of course, Dr. Carson’s motto THINK BIG is prominently displayed above the myriads of titles of interest housed in tall bookcases! Low rocker seats stuffed royal blue chairs and low shelves where kids can cuddle underneath with an adventure of their choice make this a cool haven for students from pre-K through the 5th grade!
Thank you to all who made this room possible, and for those who came to show their support:
Kim Stokes – Lake Worth Beach Commissioner District 3
Robert Weinroth – Palm Beach County Board of Commissioners /Vice Mayor
Mrs. Linda Stoch, representing the Palm Beach chapter of CSF; Meredith Iler, former congressional spouse; Mr. & Mrs. Lee Lipton (Bennys on the Beach); Mr. & Mrs. Gordon Martin (former CFO Nasdaq)
Click the photo above to read more about the BallenIsles Charities Foundation Reading Room impact.
Pictured at the 10,000th scholarship recipient event: President of the BallenIsles Charities Foundation Mark Freeman and Dr. Ben Carson