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Book donation delights RCS elementary students

Students at both West Elementary and Russellville Elementary schools are enjoying new books in their classrooms and at home thanks to a generous donation from a local church.

Last month, First United Methodist Church in Russellville donated more than 5,000 books to the schools so students would be able to work on their reading skills at school and at home.

FUMC Pastor Bo Lloyd said the books came from a book drive held by the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church. Lloyd said each district received an allotment of books for churches for distribution to their local schools.

“What was great about the books we were able to donate is the fact that many of the books are in English and in Spanish, so they’ll be beneficial to all the students,” Lloyd said.

WES Principal Deanna Hollimon said the Pre-K and kindergarten books were in both English and Spanish and focused on basic reading and math skills. She said first and second grade received science-themed books, and each child also received a DVD that teaches Spanish and French.

“Each classroom teacher received a set of 18 books for the classroom, and each student received four books to keep at home,” Hollimon said. “This donation was a great benefit to our school and to our students, who received high quality and high interest books to help them learn basic skills and to learn about the world around them. The books also expose the students to a second language.”

RES Principal Kristie Ezzell said her teachers also received a set of books, and with the books they had left over, they were able to send books home with some of the students who might need extra practice outside of school.

“This was such a great thing for the church to do because it will be such a big help to our students,” Ezzell said. “We can’t thank them enough for being so involved and so willing to help our students learn and develop their reading skills.”

Hollimon said community support is crucial to their schools.

“The donation benefits our school by building community relationships,” she said. “When an organization, agency, business, or industry partners with a school, the benefits are far reaching. Strong partnerships make the school stronger. Everyone benefits from it, especially the students and the students should be our top priority.”

Lloyd said their church believes it is important to be community-minded and to be a blessing to others whenever they can.

“If you have a chance to make a difference for someone, you should take it,” Lloyd said. “My wife is a teacher, and I know how important it is for a child to be able to learn to read. If they are going to succeed and have opportunities open to them, they need this skill. Hopefully with these books at school and at home, they will be able to practice their reading and even learn to enjoy reading.”

Both Hollimon and Ezzell said they appreciated the church’s donation and willingness to be a helping hand.

“The students and the teachers loved the books,” Hollimon said. “We appreciate their generosity and their partnership in helping us to achieve our goals for student success.”