In Events, Newsletter, Reading Rooms on 07/01/2024 - 1:36 PM

U.B. Kinsey/Palmview Elementary School of the Arts

“A playground for your brain!”

The above thought-provoking catchphrase was creatively coined by Ned Grace, in his charge to the students of U.B. Kinsey/Palmview Elementary School of the Arts, the latest reading room to open in the U.S.  The room was sponsored by his company, NDT Development in West Palm Beach, FL.  See below!

The anticipation was almost tangible as you entered the student-packed assembly room of U. B. Kinsey/Palmview Elementary School of the Arts!  And each guest seat was already occupied…by a passport!  Its cover was printed with several hot air balloons of various hues! But they were partially occluded by the thought-provoking message, “READING IS A PASSPORT TO COUNTLESS ADVENTURES!”  The balloon figures are symbols of ‘new heights’ that can be reached by actively engaging with the written word!  Inside was the outline of the program, while the back carried a description of the reading room initiative that was being introduced that day!

Principal Alexander Bembry who has served at the school for over 10 years, started the program with a warm welcome, which included his interesting perspective on education, where he proclaimed teachers to actually be “architects of intelligence!”  After expressing his appreciation for the new addition to the school, he asked Mrs. Candy Carson to come forward.

In her address, Mrs C shared her traditional message on the power of the brain.



The twelve member choir, composed of fourth- and fifth-grade students, was professionally outfitted in “concert black” attire.   Their performance of two harmoniously pleasing classical pieces was quite impressive as their presentation was done in perfectly pronounced Latin!!

Next up was the U.B. Kinsey Orchestra. Also attired in all black “concert dress”, 11 violinists and 2 cellists were led by a fellow student. This young man directed the ensemble as he played his violin with perfect posture, similar to some elite European chamber ensembles like Cappella Gabetta and Bremer Barockorchester.



NDT Development, the sponsoring organization of the new reading room, was represented by Ned Grace, cofounder of the organization.  Mr. Grace in his remarks noted that his company is located in the same community as the school, which makes them neighbors, and as such, stated “we are in this together”, and that he and his company are…

1-“excited to be a part” of this special initiative to help motivate young people to develop themselves to the max!

2-“very interested in building the future of the community, a thought that is totally in sync with the principal’s view of teachers as “architects” who aid in “building” the intellects and thought processes of students.

3- are “rooting for each of the student’s success!”

After asking the students if they enjoyed playing on the playground, Ned Grace graced us with the above gem of a perspective!! He challenged all to consider how the Ben Carson Reading Room is like a playground for your brain!  His captivating speech packed a powerful punch, as he closed by urging each student to utilize the room wisely and build their brain power just the way they build their muscles by exercising them on the athletic field!

In Closing Remarks, Principal Bembry introduced the reading room committee: Assistant Principal Jamie VanderGast and Exceptional Student Education (ESE) teacher, Allison Delgado; and the mural-artist team of Jeanne Brady and Brandon Brady.  Guests then proceeded to the new ‘scene for kid’s adventures’!


The Room

The visual display of creativity wraps around you as you enter the room!  Every wall has welcoming sandy shores painted along the lower half, topped with an azure sky adorned with puffy clouds, all encouraging a leisurely walk along the beach, with freedom to explore (not unlike “strolling” through a book to discover treasures!) Next to the shores are rectangular grass-green cushions, just the right size for a student to lounge on for a literary journey!

The air suddenly seemed fresher with a breezy feel…a testament of how art can transform, as the murals and decor elevated mind and spirit to new heights…of potential!!

Artist Jeanne Brady revealed that the idea of “the sky’s the limit”, was one of her motivations, and the hot air balloon was one of the vehicles to get that point across.  She also shared that one of her goals was to provide a “dreamy quality” for the students to take a trip anywhere around the world that they would choose!  Her assistant, Brandon Brady was excited and thankful to have had a part in developing the artistry of the kid’s haven utilizing color theory and imagination!

Several miniature hot air balloons in various colors hover overhead, (suspended from the ceiling), each with a cloud below, and a star below that, another signal to readers that they can indeed soar above clouds and stars!!  That theme is continued with colorful balloon depictions on the walls!  And some of the larger balloons are rendered in local college colors with the school’s mascot:  Florida International University (FIU) Panthers, FSU Seminoles, University of Florida Gators, Florida A&M University Rattlers, and Bethune–Cookman University wildcats! …all encouraging students to think about continuing their education!

But one particular balloon that also catches the eye is shaped like a panda, the school mascot who represents “panda pride.” The school motto includes “Be Prepared Responsible Safe” and “Do your best!”

About midway around the room on the wall, a plane flies a bright yellow banner with the school’s name!

Overstuffed armchairs in muted tones offer a relaxing background and help focus adventurers’ imaginations on lofty, uplifting ideas, that reach above the clouds!! Other kid-friendly armchairs resemble pandas!

Large baskets on the floor sport sunshine- and sky-hued pillows for student-explorers to get cozy for their chosen journey.

The room is centered around a bright orange semi-hexagon-angled plush sectional sofa, situated near a sandy shore (rug), that has palms playing peekaboo from strategic locations around the room, interspersed with festive helium-filled balloon triads bringing a celebratory ambience!

Round wooden book carousels, organized according to reading levels and subject matter warmly invite students to try their literary offerings!

In a side area, you can walk on sunbeams (rug) positioned on a sky-blue carpet!  …or sit on primary-colored foam cube chairs!  And all you can see is sky and clouds, as the creative decor puts the readers on the same level with the highest hot air balloons!!

And to top it off, lucky students who happened to be the first to view the results of so much planning, enjoyed the opportunity to hear several books read by Ned Grace!


Special thanks to NDT Development for providing opportunities like this to encourage children to develop a love of reading.


We would also like to thank the following individuals:

Superintendent Mike Burke, School District of Palm Beach County
Mr. Ed Tierney, Deputy Superintendent of Schools
Ms. Robin Brown, Central Region Superintendent and staff
Ms. Adrienne Howard, Director of Elementary Education
Alexander Bembry, Principal
Jeanne Brady, Muralist
U.B. Kinsey/Palmview Elementary School of the Arts faculty and staff
Ms. Allison Delgado and Ms. Jamie Vandergast, Ben Carson Reading Room committee

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