When the Sumter Education Foundation asked teachers what they need, they said books for their classrooms. And the foundation took heed.
The members put their big brains together and thought, thought, thought. And what wonders their thinking …
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The members put their big brains together and thought, thought, thought. And what wonders their thinking brought.
The foundation, which is the philanthropic arm of Sumter School District, donated $10,000 in books to R.E. Davis Elementary School as part of a $50,000 donation from the Williams-Brice-Edwards Charitable Trust that was divided between six schools.
In recognition of Read Across America Day, which is a national program in honor of Dr. Seuss' birthday, members visited the school off Highway 81/East Brewington Road to give them the books and read some of the famous author's titles to a second-grade class.
"We have beautiful media centers, but this was a need for more books in the [teachers'] libraries," said Susan Hilton, a member of the foundation's board of directors.
The donation was part of the group's 500 for $500K campaign that is aiming to raise $500,000 to purchase sets of 500 books for classrooms.
"Phil was a wonderful man in our community, and he left some money for things to be done to improve Sumter, to make it a better place to live," Hilton said. "And we approached the trust fund and said, 'Can you help us?' And they responded in a huge way."
Since the foundation was established in 2012 when the school district consolidated, this campaign is its biggest yet.
"What we really love about this campaign is the teachers get to choose the books," said Hilton, who taught at Sumter High School for 35 years. "It's sort of like a gift card. They know what the kids need, what meets their standards and what the kids will enjoy."
She said the enthusiasm from the kids Friday morning was "off the charts."
"When those kids came in and sat down, and then when we were talking about the books and showing them the books and handing out the books, it was like Christmas day, I thought. It felt so good to see that kind of a reaction. And that's our goal is to help children love to learn to read and support the teachers who are really on the front lines doing a really fantastic job," she said.
Jaden Goodman, a second-grader, said his favorite Dr. Seuss books are "Green Eggs and Ham" and "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish."
Taleiya Sanseverino, his classmate, said she likes "Oh, the Places We'll Go!" and the "Cat in the Hat" books.
"My favorite part is all the colorful things," she said.
It is important to have books in the classroom and not just in a media center, Principal Michelle McBride said.
"With the independent reading, some students may be early finishers, and they may need a place to go grab those books from the book basket. Just to have books that are immediately accessible to them, it means everything," she said.
She said the school learned about Dr. Seuss as a way to learn about everything that is possible in the world.
Teachers wore T-shirts from their colleges on Friday to introduce students to all the places they, too, can go.
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