The first Ben Carson Reading Room in the state of Connecticut opened at Strong Elementary School on Orchard St. in New Haven. The morning was not too early for the students to exercise the school motto of “Strong Hands, Strong Minds at Strong School.”
In the gymnasium, across the top of the stage is the school theme, “Our World Through the Hands of a Child.” Each and every student in the school contributed to the stage backdrop with at least one handprint in the mural depicting a happy, outdoorsy scene – the students’ handprints where used as butterflies’ wings, trees, and even a field of flowers. What a “hands on” school!
The program opened with a welcome by Principal Susan DeNicola, who thanked all those individuals who helped to make the Reading Room a reality.
The sweet little students of Room 111 not only led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance, but continued with the Strong School pledge in cadence!!
As an introduction of the speaker, a 3rd grade student dressed in blue scrubs and a stethoscope performed a remarkable impression of Dr. Carson, reciting his story in the first person without skipping a beat!
Dr. Carson followed with facts on the amazing qualities of the brain, that unique and fascinating computer which enables each of us to accomplish much more than we might imagine. He also reiterated his mantra, that the person who has the most to do with what happens to you…is you!
The popular song “Lean On Me” was then performed with hand motions by the Strong School Singers.
When Dr. Carson was a child, his physician was Dr. Donald Janower. But Dr. Janower was more than a physician to young Ben….he was a true role model. And he and his wife Barbara have given back to the community in many ways. As the sponsor of this reading room, Dr. Janower shared how he appreciated the privilege of having a part in the shaping of Dr. Carson’s life, and also having a part in continuing to encourage others to be the best they can be through this endeavor! This is the second Ben Carson Reading Room to be sponsored by the Janowers!
Following Dr. Janower’s remarks, students recited the THINK BIG acrostic and delivered closing remarks before the ribbon cutting.
Thank you to all those who helped to bring about this beautiful oasis of a Reading Room, with its perimeter of bookcases that holds bins of books organized according to reading level. The stuffed animals perched amongst the reading material make it a festive environment, and the hand-shaped chairs, bean bag seats, and rainbow Adirondack chairs make it a comfortable, comforting place to “hang out”!! The world balloons hanging from the ceiling only underscore the idea that many worlds are available to students. All they have to do is THINK BIG and prepare themselves through reading!!
Special thanks to:
Carson Reading Room Committee
Dr. & Mrs. Janower
Mickie & Louie Wordie
Ms. Wilma Rivera
Mrs. Dana DeCosta
Carson Scholars Fund
The wonderful students & staff of Strong Elementary School