The Archbishop Borders (Grades K-8) Ben Carson Reading Room was opened on Friday, April 19th. As guests of the event arrived at the bi-lingual Catholic school located in the heart of Baltimore, they were greeted by colorful artwork and cheery students.
The program began as Principal M. Catherine Marshall warmly welcomed everyone. She spoke of how each person is very special, and students and adults alike received the charge to fully develop the potential that God put within you. She encouraged that part of this process can be effectuated in the reading room – because books can take you places! In fact, the theme of the reading room is based on Dr. Seuss’ book “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”
Following the welcome, Dr. Barbara Edmondson, Superintendent of Catholic Schools of the Archdiocese of Baltimore introduced special guests. She also thanked the sponsors, including several officials from Bank of America, as well as the educators and volunteers who helped make the reading room possible.
8th graders, Nicole Fortune, originally from Argentina, and Joelle Kadima from the Democratic Republic of the Congo presented the bi-lingual opening prayer. This was delivered a couple of sentences at a time, first in English and then in Spanish. Nicole, whose native tongue is Spanish, spoke in English, and Joelle, whose native tongue is French spoke in Spanish. Both students did a phenomenal job! The Archbishop Borders Reading Room is the ninth reading room to open thanks to the generosity of Bank of America. Mr. David Millman, Maryland and Baltimore Market President of Bank of America, gave a few remarks. He commented on the bank’s historically philanthropic commitment to the community and addressing critical needs. With heartfelt congratulations, he shared that the process for this particular reading room took about 2 years (because they moved the building), but with diligence and perseverance, the reading room is finally a reality.
Co-Founder of the Carson Scholars Fund, Candy Carson shared some background about the CSF – including the fact that the Archbishop Borders reading room is the 88th one in the nation and it is the 46th one in the state of Maryland. She urged students to take advantage of the room and to develop themselves to be the best they can be! She also shared her appreciation for the hard, dedicated work that went into bringing about this dream, and thanked the sponsors, educators, and volunteers for all of their efforts.
Following Mrs. Carson, class representatives from grades K – 8th recited, “Oh the Places You’ll Go!” Dr. Carson then delivered a special video-taped message to Archbishop Borders School. Speaking on the power of reading, Dr. Carson illustrated how reading has affected his life by providing him with self-esteem (as his grades rose from the bottom of the class to the highest) and developing him into a student who was able to win a scholarship to Yale University. Students heard that they get to make choices, and that the person who has the most to do with what happens to you, is YOU! He reminded the students that all of the people gathered in the gymnasium are committed to your success.
In Principal Marshall’s closing remarks, she emphasized her belief, like Dr. Carson, that reading is really important, and how reading really resonates with Dr. Seuss’ theme of taking you places you never even dreamed of before.
In closing, 7th graders, Christian Navarro and Danielle Brown delivered a closing prayer with a plea to God to “open the eyes of our minds.” Christian spoke the prayer in English and Danielle followed in Spanish. Everyone in attendance felt extremely blessed to have been at the program and to witness these wonderful students in action. And it was finally time to open the reading room!
In the reading room, the unique diversity of the school was displayed in several ways, starting with the vibrant colors of the seating. Brilliant royal blue, canary yellow, scarlet red, orange, green and purple…all the various colors beckoned for everyone to grab a book and relax in the bean bag chairs or circular pillows. Suspended from the ceiling were the flags of several nations including Brazil, Kenya, Philippines, Liberia, Puerto Rico, and even the Anglican Catholic flag. The organizers even embraced diversity in a gustatory way, with scrumptious cookies from all over the world!
Rolling bi-level book cases flanked the main sitting area, two of which were filled with bi-lingual literature. Posters encouraging students to THINK BIG were displayed throughout the room along with student artwork.
A special thank you to Bank of America for sponsoring this reading room!
View more photos from the event on our Facebook page, here.
You can read more about the Reading Room opening in this article by The Catholic Review.