In Chapter News, General, Newsletter, Reading Rooms on 01/17/2024 - 2:35 PM

A First at Plumosa School for the Arts Reading Room

Another huge first!! The Plumosa School of the Arts is the first and only place in the United States to have a reading room established in honor of dedicated chapter founders by their husbands!!! And these were no ordinary wives! (But this writer doesn’t believe there is such a thing as an “ordinary wife”! Each wife is spectacular in her own way! ¬†However, I digress…)

Nine years ago, the Palm Beach Chapter of the Carson Scholars Fund was established by two forward-thinking, creative and generous-hearted ladies! Sande Constantine and Linda Stoch started by establishing one room each year, which increased to the point that there are now 33 reading rooms in Palm Beach County! 90 % of them were established or inspired by these two dynamos, and have, under their leadership, exploded into a total of 33 rooms in Palm Beach County, expanding the total in Florida to reach 40 in record time, with three more on the way!!

The School of the Arts lived up to its name in several ways on this special day! Like many public schools in Florida, this one had several small buildings on the campus, interspersed with grassy play areas and connecting scenic walkways! Traveling from the admin building to the performance building, guests’ auditory nerves were quite pleasantly stimulated by the sweet serenades resonating from one of the school’s stellar bands, which had been strategically planted in an outdoor locale designed for acoustical excellence.

The program also included more exceptional artistic presentations! Even from the younger set!! With a large video screen below the elevated stage on each side, all in attendance could enjoy an unforgettable experience!

Remarks from school administrators and reading room facilitators acquainted everyone with the process as well as the interesting creative strategies utilized to make the dream a reality!! Principal Ronda Smith spoke of how a student can develop a better, clearer sense of purpose by reading a book about another person’s success and imagining themselves in that role.

And one of the best parts of the program was that the entire audience had the opportunity to witness the surprise on the two ladies’ faces when Dr. Russell Stoch performed an unprecedented walk to the stage and began to share his unique perspective on this particularly special occasion, as he represented both husbands with his remarks! The questioning look his wife exchanged with her cohort in reading room establishment was priceless! And the unfettered exclamations of pure surprise by these two were even more so!! The elaborately lush floral bouquets presented to the ladies were stunning, as both parties of the normally gregarious dynamic duo were actually stunned into a rare silence!!

The five-star treatment the school provided also included chauffeured golf cart rides after the program back to the building housing the reading room! And the melodious strains of the middle school band again danced in the air around the travelers during the trip!

What more appropriate theme for a school for the arts reading haven than….(drum roll…)…”the arts”! Many of the books reflect the theme of the performing arts, enabling students to explore various genres to discover artistic talent and develop that discovered treasure to the max!

The first mural to grab your attention has a wavy piano keyboard rivaling the wavy cinematic film on the opposite side, with a backdrop of multi-colored swirls of excitement and success! Symbols of various forms of the performing arts including musical instruments, musical notes on tails of shooting stars, and enthusiastic performers complete the attractive, whimsically decorated wall!

Imagery is alive and well too, as the idea of a rising tide “floats all boats” comes to mind when one glances across the sea of navy-cushioned wicker sectionals! A child or an entire group of adventurers can feel the warmth of the sea supporting their efforts to stay on top of the waves of life, as the ‘watery nudges’ guide them toward the safe and welcoming shore! The wicker bases remind folks that the palm beaches are indeed a “cool” place where everyone gets a chance to shine as brightly as the sun!

Compare the openness of the waves of seats with the cute, individual white wicker eggshell chairs that are cozy enough to feel like a cuddle, with a wide-enough weave so the isolated kid-friendly structures still give a sense of community when readers look about and share new ideas they’ve discovered! And there are books populating every type of space imaginable!

Across from that initial mural is its companion providing some very thought-provoking concepts.

‘Think Big’ and ‘Dream Big’ challenge each other for dominance as their huge artsy letters are the bright lights in a dark navy sky where their lights are reflected on puffy clouds of hope!!

Usually, a reception is held in or near the room, but special guests, after being completely impressed with the imagination explosion of the room, were all led from there to the reception in the library by student safety escorts.

In honor of the special guests, another program had been prepared. After a quick introduction by Principal Smith and reading room organizer Sally Smollar, music began with a young man of the middle school performing his own piano composition for several minutes. The song was a cheerful, calming tune bringing happy, carefree memories from childhood, utilizing a creative musical theme and variations on it!!

Following his selection, a representative string ensemble composed of middle and high school students then offered several classical pieces, including a very nice arrangement of the popular Puerto Rican Christmas Carol, “A La Media Noche”. On a side note (pun intended) one of the members of the ensemble had recently earned state-level honors for his violin performance!

After the mini concert, Dr. Stoch represented both husbands again with his thoughts of gratitude for the two wives who dedicated themselves to making a difference for future generations by their unstoppable efforts in establishing reading rooms that provide opportunities for students to develop themselves to the max and beyond!!!


Written by: Candy Carson

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