Leave your cares at the door and take a trip to the beach! At the Wendell Phillips Elementary School Ben Carson Reading Room, wall murals of the beachside ocean, complete with palm trees and rolling waves, set the tone for relaxing with a book. The creative designers of this sunny oasis even organized the large room into cozy sections, including: an Excellent Estuary, the Respect Reef, a Bookworm Beach, the Scholarly Seaside, and a Courage Cove! Each section sports white Adirondack chairs and a unique focus, from a full-sized beach umbrella to life-sized palm trees. Inflatable sea creatures are not only suspended from the ceiling, but decorate the centralized U-shaped 1/2 bookcase, which is high enough to house a sea-load of books, but low enough for student readers to be encouraged by witnessing their peers’ enchantment with their own books from across the room! Real life seashells of all shapes and sizes accent the bookcase as well.
Many thanks to room sponsor the Indiana University School of Medicine for their generosity and support of the future of our youth!
What first drew my attention inside Wendell Phillips were three large murals painted by students at Indiana University. The first mural shows two hands holding the globe. The painting is overshadowed with a peace symbol, illustrating that world peace is in our hands. The second mural has the school slogan, which is about making good choices, painted on the backdrop of a space scene. This mural figuratively purports that the sky’s the limit. The third mural depicts the downtown skyline, silhouetted against a brilliant yellow, orange, and red sunset.
To encourage the students to consider the reality of their futures, educators have various collegiate pennants attached over the entrance of the media center. The display case has miniature ceramic figures of workers in various careers to encourage the students to consider what their profession will be when they grow up.
The Reading Room theme is the “Overachiever Ocean”. Decorations include inflated sea creatures that hung from the ceiling and a life preserver atop a wooden post, with arrows directing the readers to Excellence Estuary, Courage Cove, Bookworm Beach, or Respect Reef.
As CSF Scholarship Director Rebekah Lin and I ventured further, we found the students awaiting our arrival in a little cove in the center of the room. The students sat cross-legged in neat rows atop the colorful rug, surrounded by waist-high bookcases with brightly colored bins. Each bin showcased books organized according to reading level.
Rebekah and I held the students spellbound as we presented lively animal stories. Also in attendance from Indiana University School of Medicine was George Rausch, Associate Dean for Diversity Affairs; Fred Hamilton, Director of the Diversity Outreach Comprehensive Science Initiative of the Division of Diversity Affairs; and Carrie Harris, Coordinator of that same initiative.