In some homes it can be difficult to get teenagers to clean their room. At The SEED School of Maryland, not only were the teenagers cleaning – they were painting, decorating, selecting books and designing the school’s Ben Carson Reading Room. The SEED School of Maryland is a college-preparatory, public boarding school which prides itself on developing leaders. Instead of having adults steer the project, the school allowed a core group of students the opportunity to manage it from start to completion. Under the guidance of library media specialist, Christine Rinehart, three student leaders, Kaleel Byrd, Tashanna Sands and Destiny Smith were responsible for all aspects of creating the school’s Ben Carson Reading Room. On Wednesday, November 5, 2014 they succeeded in their efforts and the school officially opened the Ben Carson Reading Room.
To unveil the reading room, the school held an opening night ceremony. Head of School, Dr. Khalek Kirkland, began the ceremony by welcoming guests and encouraging students to use this new resource. Christine Rinehart spoke next and directed her remarks to the students. She discussed Dr. Carson’s life story and talked about the partnership between the school, Carson Scholars Fund and Hillendale Country Club Ladies Book Club. Representing the Carson Scholars Fund was reading room associate Traci Taylor. Traci thanked the Hillendale Country Club Ladies Book Club members for sponsoring the reading room and for sharing their love of reading with the students. Although Dr. Carson was unable to attend the ceremony, he prepared a personalized greeting encouraging the students to develop their reading skills so that they are able to pursue their dreams. Up next was a poetry reading by students Morris Turner and Siaiah Mackall. Both poems, authored by the students, received an award in a national competition. After the poetry reading it was time to reveal the reading room. Dr. Kirkland, Christine Rinehart, Kaleel Bryd and Destiny Smith had the honor of cutting the ribbon and welcoming everyone as they got their first glimpse at the reading room.
Located off of the school library, the Ben Carson Reading Room is a teenager’s dream room. The walls are painted in sky blue hues creating a sanctuary for the busy students. Overstuffed bean bag chairs and bark colored faux leather love-seats offer comfortable, relaxed seating. Track lighting provides just the right amount of light for reading, as well as creates a soothing environment. Lamps with chalkboard lamp shades allow students to leave encouraging messages and book suggestions for fellow readers. Student-created artwork, inspirational phrases and college pennants are strategically placed throughout the room. Many of the art pieces capture the students’ dreams and aspirations. Bookshelves line the circumference of the room, where students can select from a variety of genres including fantasy, science fiction, sports and romance.
Special thanks to the Hillendale Country Club Ladies Book Club for sponsoring this reading room!