Holland Family Foundation funds 2 more Ben Carson Reading Rooms
Six months ago, Candy Carson, wife of famous pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson, came to Catoosa County to celebrate the opening of a Ben Carson reading room at Cloud Springs Elementary School. On Monday, Oct. 22, she returned for ribbon-cuttings at two more reading rooms — one at West Side Elementary and one at Tiger Creek Elementary.
The reading rooms were funded by the Holland Family Foundation through the Carson Scholars Fund. The Holland Family Foundation chose the schools where it wanted to see reading rooms. The Ben Carson Foundation offered guidance, inspiration and some materials for the reading rooms, but individual schools choose their decorating themes and set up committees to choose décor, furnishings and books. When possible, Mrs. Carson attends opening ceremonies, as she’s done for the three recent reading rooms in Catoosa County schools.
The reading room at West Side Elementary features a forest and camping theme. Children can read any of more than 500 news books curled up on rustic chairs around a faux campfire or tucked into a tent or even inside a tree trunk.
The reading room at Tiger Creek Elementary is entered through a castle gateway guarded by a medieval knight in armor and also features more than 500 new books for students. The school’s media special- ist, Holly Caputi, dressed as a book fairy for the occasion, her skirt made of the pages of an old book and a book incorporated into her wings.
Mrs. Carson shared with children at West Side and Tiger Creek the story of the difference reading made in her husband’s life, and Ben Carson shared details of the same story by way of a video presentation. Carson told how his mother was not happy about his poor performance in school. Her solution was to strictly limit the amount of television her two sons could watch and to require them to read two books a week from the public library and write reports on them.
Carson said his mother’s insistence on reading took him from a failing student to the top of his class and opened whole new worlds for him.
Catoosa County now boasts three of 180 Ben Carson reading rooms in 22 states. “We were happy to do this,” said Brice Holland. “I hope it makes a difference for the children.”
West Side Elementary School dedicated its new Ben Carson reading room, funded by the Holland Family Foundation, on Oct. 22. Back row, from left: Catoosa Commissioner Jeff Long, Fort Oglethorpe Mayor Earl Gray, photographer Mike Key, Catoosa Chamber executive assistant Shirley Watts. Front row, l-r: Catoosa Commissioner Ray Johnson, Lynn Holland, Candy Carson, Brice Holland, Catoosa Commission Chairman Steven Henry, Catoosa Chamber of Commerce president Martha Eaker.