PARAGOULD, Ark. (KAIT) - A Paragould school is taking a unique approach in getting their students interested in reading; they’re doing that by creating a book vending machine.
It’s a story that starts with a student admiring her teacher. Baldwin Elementary School Principal Caroline Schenk had Mrs. Sue Spector as her teacher in the second grade.
"When I was playing school as a little girl, she was who I wanted to be,” Schenk says.
The two haven’t seen each other since their last class in the second grade. A conference Schenk attended introduced her to some close, personal friends of Spector.
The reconnection began from there. Through Facebook, the two talked and reformed that elementary bond.
Then a handwritten letter was sent to Baldwin Elementary.
"Just a sweet, little handwritten letter where she had said she had been following our [school] Facebook page,” Schenk says. “She was seeing some of the great things we're doing here at Baldwin."
The letter came sealed with a signed check.
"Being an educator herself, she understands money isn't always available just to do some fun, extra things,” Schenk says.
That’s when the ideas began flowing among the school’s faculty. Since Spector taught Schenk to read, they found it fitting to put the money towards literacy.
The book vending machine then became a reality.
“Some of our kids don't have a lot of books, so we want to get a book in each of the hands of our kids,” Schenk says.
The only money the machine takes is gold coins. Teachers and faculty are given paper tickets that can then be traded for the coins in the office.
To receive the tickets, good deeds must be done first. Improvements in attendance, behavior or being kind to others can get them those tickets.
"As soon as these students earn their gold coins and go to that machine, they'll get to take these books home and keep them forever,” Schenk says.
The entire school is proud to have this new addition in their hallway. The school says many donations made this book vending machine a reality.
Sue Spector, Centennial Bank in Paragould, Baldwin Elementary Parent Teacher Organization and local family donations made this possible.
“We hope this honors Mrs. Spector,” Schenk says. “We hope this is something that is here many, many years to come.”