Lowe's donates bookshelves for Leesburg Elementary
LEESBURG – In September, when Leesburg Elementary School launched a campaign to fund 46 classroom libraries each with 100 books that reflect the cultural diversity of the student body, the idea was met with excitement and community support.
The Educational Foundation of Lake County supported the campaign with a generous donation of $15,000 and the school raised an additional $3,000. Fundraising efforts are ongoing as their ultimate goal is to raise $30,000.
Administrators were thrilled to place an order for 3,500 books, but they had one lingering concern. They needed a place to put the books.
The Lowe’s store in Leesburg, managed by John McCarthy, came to the rescue and offered to donate and build bookshelves for all seven of the school’s first-grade classrooms. Volunteers made the donation on Friday, Dec. 7.
“Our community gives a lot to us by choosing to shop with Lowe’s and this is one small way we can pay the community back and thank them for their business,’’ McCarthy said. “Also, education is very important to us and any time we can help support local students we want to do so.”
Assistant Principal Maurice Simmons, who led the campaign, said he is overwhelmed by the generosity and support the school has received. He was motivated by research that shows students are more inclined to read books that not only align with their interests but also reflect their culture or ethnicity. Sixty-seven percent of the students at Leesburg Elementary are of a racial or ethnic minority.
“The collaboration of our school with various community and business stakeholders has been integral for us during the past three years of our academic ascent,” Simmons said. “With community partners like Lowe’s, Leesburg Elementary is excited about continuing on the upward trajectory that we are currently on with regards to student achievement. Lowe’s has graciously agreed to donate their time, resources and personnel to help support our Classroom Library initiative. For this we are extremely grateful! We would also like to thank the Education Foundation of Lake County, Friends of the Leesburg Public Library, Jay Marshall and Joyce Rios for their generous donations. We are proud to see local business and community partners give back to their communities by investing our schools.”