Reeves-Rogers’ mustang mascot was inspired by their educational cousin across the street, Middle Tennessee State University. The mascot of that bastion of higher learning is a horse named Lightning. In addition, that university is where the director of the sponsoring foundation and his wife first met, Mr. Shannon Kelley and his bride, Kelly.
A select group of students awaited the group from the board of education and other special guests in the library to welcome them and share their favorite book characters, which they had dressed up to be for the day. Junie B. Jones, Pink-a-licious, Nighttime Ninja, Pippi Longstocking and The Cat in the Hat were but a few of the characters who introduced themselves and explained why these were the favorites of the students.
Prior to our trip with the children’s imagination presenting their favorite books, Principal Laurie Offutt welcomed all and professed her gratitude for this new avenue to promote reading to develop a life-long love of learning. Also present were Superintendent Dr. Linda Gilbert, who shared several pearls of wisdom, which included Dr. Andy Brown from the city school board of education; the director of The Deaver Phoenix Foundation, Mr. Shannon Kelley and his wife, Kelly; Mrs. Candy Carson; assistant principal, Mr. Raeshon Torres; and the school mascot, the Mustang.At the entrance to the room was a poster of Dr. Carson alongside a welcoming trio of owls. The owls were perched on a log set atop the ‘Rockin’ Reader’ barrel in front of a black lighthouse-styled black lantern. The barrel was crammed full of Dr. Carson’s Gifted Hands paperback books available in the children and adult versions. A colorful carpet depicting a gray-stone campfire surrounded by a log and stump were with grass and a few scattered red posies filled the floor of the campsite-themed room. The roughly hewn bark-toned bench had been smoothed for children’s safety and was flanked by two dark brown stools each holding a pale green lantern (for anyone who likes to consider the possibility of reading in the dark!) One wall was completely filled with reachable books in bins and on shelves, all facing forward begging passersby to read them! The wooden picnic table had striped pads for the bench seat in a 3” navy and white pattern, which was on the sporty umbrella as well. Extra red folding camper chairs were available from a bin in the corner and 30” square black pillows could provide even more comfy seats around the campfire.
All bookcases were loaded with books, but even if all of them happened to be in use, there were more reading material for the students. The tallest bookcase has the colorful Sunday newspaper comic pages lining the back, which draw the children into another genre to spark their reading interests!!
Special thanks go to The Deaver Phoenix Foundation for sponsoring the reading room and to Principal Offutt, Jennifer Stanley and the entire reading room committee for making this room possible.