Carmel High School Students Give Books at Kent Primary a New Home

A love of reading has bonded students at Kent Primary School with technology and engineering students at Carmel High School. 

During Read Across America week, students in the Home Maintenance class at the high school visited the elementary school to present the younger students with a wooden bookcase that they built to kick off the school’s Give a Book, Take a Book initiative. 

High school students and teacher pose with completed bookcase

“The high school students made this bookcase because they want to promote reading,” Kent Primary Principal Dan Brown told the fourth-grade students who gathered for the presentation. “What we are going to do is put lots of books here so you can take a book when you want one or you can leave a book when you are done with it." 

The collaborative project began as an idea within Kent Primary’s site-based team, a group comprising teachers, staff and parent representatives that work to support school-based initiatives and goals. The team reached out to Carmel High School’s then-assistant principal, John Fink, to inquire whether the high school could assist. Technology and Engineering Teacher Rob Leonard was brought into the conversation and the project for Home Maintenance class students was born. While the initial conversations began a few years ago, the physical creation of the bookcase was completed by the class of 20 high school students over a span of four weeks.  

During the unveiling, Leonard and six of the high school students from the build team promoted reading and highlighted the technology courses that await the young students when they get to high school. 

“All the things you are learning here, you are going to bring with you to the middle school and to the high school. You need all of that to make really cool things like this bookcase,” Leonard told the elementary students. “When your teachers say that you need to know all of that, they are not kidding.” 

Leonard highlighted the different skills that were needed to complete the bookcase including reading manuals to operate the machinery, math to calculate measurements, and even science to understand the reaction that wood glue would have with the wood materials. 

One thing that really piqued the young students' interest: the laser used to engrave the dedication plaque on the bookcase. 

“We take a laser, like you would see in Star Wars, and put that in a machine and it carves out those names and burns them into the wood,” Leonard told the student. “The laser can cut through wood and different materials and is really cool.” 

The newly built bookcase is already stocked with a diverse collection of children’s books, all donated to the school by Eric Mahollitz, Youth Services Librarian at Kent Public Library, and ready to foster opportunities to read for every student at Kent Primary School.