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$10,000 donated to kick-off schoolwide book club

Oct 06, 2017 11:55AM ● Published by Jet Burnham

Principal Dixie Garrison celebrates receiving an autographed football and $10,000 from former University of Utah head coach Ron McBride’s Foundation. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

Gallery: Book Club [1 Image] Click any image to expand.

Former University of Utah football coach Ron McBride surprised West Jordan Middle School  with a $10,000 check on Aug. 31. Principal Dixie Garrison and school librarian Lisa Morey will use the funds for a reading blitz.

“It’s a joy to be able to give back to the community,” said McBride, representing The McBride Foundation. “The great thing is how appreciative the principals and the educators are and to see the smile on the librarian’s face today—that’s worth more than a million dollars to see how happy she was.”

Garrison accepted the check and a football autographed by McBride and Jesse Boone, president of the foundation. She was thrilled to receive the funds.

“We have the world’s best librarian, and she needs more books,” Garrison said. “These funds are going to go to get reading materials in the hands of the students.”

Morey sponsors programs to encourage students to read novels. About 40–60 kids sign up every six to eight weeks for a program called “Brown Bag and a Book.” Students are given a copy of the same book and meet to discuss it during their lunch time.

“Every year we try to scramble to come up with funds to get you those books for Brown Bag,” Garrison told students. With the funding from the Foundation, this and other programs will be expanded to reach more students, especially the low-income students, which make up about half the school demographic. Garrison hopes to help students build their own home libraries.

“We wanted to get books in their hands, something they can keep and treasure,” she said. “It’s different when it’s your book to take home and to share with your family and to curl up to at night—it means more.”

With the boon from the McBride Foundation, Garrison will be able to initiate a schoolwide book club experience called “One School, One Book.” The school will purchase a book for every student in the school. They will read the novel and then will have the opportunity to discuss it together.

Morey said this program will be a good way to explore significant topics such as bullying, poverty, refugees and immigrants. 

“The school picks what the kids need and then everybody is on the same page,” she said. “We choose a book that is ripe for discussion.” She is excited to have the funding available to support her reading programs. She will also use the funding to update and expand the 59-year-old library.

The WJMS library still uses the original chairs and tables purchased in 1958. Morey said they are well-built and sturdy, but when the science department bought 3-D printers last year, she asked them to duplicate some new parts for the tables. 

“The feet have worn out, and you can’t buy them anymore because the tables are so old,” she said. 

Morey said many of the books she plans to buy to enhance the library resources will be books in Spanish. Dual Language Immersion students have a very limited Spanish section in the school library currently. Morey said that reading books in the language they are learning is very beneficial for these students. But the library hasn’t had the funds to provide these materials.

“They’re expensive,” Morey said. “The current books that have been translated into Spanish are not the same price as the current books that are printed in English.”

Garrison said she is always looking for ways to bring more funding into the school, so when she heard about The McBride Foundation, she applied to update the library and its programs. She expressed appreciation to the Foundation members and pointed out to her students how amazing the donation is.

“There are a lot of people in the community that care about you and care about what we do here at WJMS,” she told the students. Garrison said she loves working with students and acknowledges the importance of literacy in their education.

“The library is kind of the heart of the school,” she said. “Ms. Morey has been the heart of our school for a long time.”. Morey has worked at WJMS for 23 years as a reading teacher, drama teacher and now the librarian.

“I’ve always wanted to be the librarian,” she said. “I’m in my dream job right now.” 

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