by Lisa Tome
When Brent Converse's sons were students at Bay View Elementary School, they got free books through the Reading is Fundamental (RIF) program.
"(When I was younger) my mom and dad worried that I did not read enough," said Converse.
Converse, Facility Site Manager for Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC) at the Rock Springs Generation Facility, helped bring a free book distribution program to Conowingo Elementary.
He explained how it came about. Conowingo Elementary principal Tom Marinelli, provided ODEC with a "wish list" of items that they could provide for the school. ODEC is Conowingo's Business Partner in Education. One of the items on the list was free books for students. Converse remembered that distribution at Bay View and Marinelli's wish was granted.
"In order to be college and career ready, kids need to know how to read and understand what they're reading," said Conowingo assistant principal Karen Adair. "The teachers are excited about this."
Last Friday, all of the students at Conowingo got to select a free book. Three more times during the school year the process will be repeated due to the $10,000 donation from ODEC.
"I think it's just really good. The kids can take books home and have their own library. We appreciate the donation for making this possible," said Dawn Perry, media specialist at Conowingo. Perry was responsible for ordering books from which the students could choose. Each of the books was also stamped with the ODEC donation reminder so parents wouldn't think they need to be returned to school.
"When I was ordering the books, it felt like it was Christmas. I ordered classics and I tried to get fiction, non-fiction, and books the children have been requesting," said Perry.
Converse said this is just the most recent of the contributions ODEC has made to the school.
ODEC sponsors the school's Geography Bee, hosts students for a school trip, holds a welcome back breakfast, is heavily involved in the outdoor classroom project and more.