Last week, on Oct. 24, students, faculty, and staff from West Shore Community College met with their counterparts at Shelby Middle School to celebrate the 113 new books an Oceana Community Foundation grant had enabled the school to purchase.   Students in WSCC’s Future Teachers Club wrote the grant under the direction of Professor of English and Education Seán Henne.

In awarding Shelby Middle School, the Oceana Community Foundation had accessed the Gary & Mary Ann Peterson “Grandpa & Grandma Pete” Memorial Fund and the William R. Lathers Foundation Fund. “It’s quite lovely, really,” Henne said, “all the layers of partnership that made acquiring these books possible, from the generous donors, through the Foundation itself and its Youth Advisory Council, the SMS staff, and the energy of my students who worked on the grant.”

One of the WSCC students who wrote the grant was Alicia Escoto, a resident of Shelby who attended the literacy event.   All of the WSCC students performed research to support their writing; Alicia focused on history books, as that had been a request from Jessica Danielson, Shelby Middle School principal.   Alicia stated “reading quality social studies books helps children understand the world from different perspectives and helps us discover what’s outside our small town to allow us to dream big.”

Shelby Middle School students who attended the event had the first opportunity to handle the new books.  The students were able to discuss them with the representatives from the college and Community Foundation.

“It’s gratifying to see just how excited the middle school students were to explore the new books, and it was fun to watch them begin to share their explorations – talking about books just makes their impact so much greater!” stated Henne.

The Future Teachers Club is encouraged by the success of their grant writing efforts and is interested in continuing to find ways to help local school districts fulfill their needs and dream big.   If you have an idea for an educational project needing support, please get in touch with Henne at 231-843-5859 or swhenne@wetshore.edu.