- Olathe Public Schools
5-29-18 — Black Bob Third-Graders Make Lasting Impact
May 29, 2018 ~ Shawn Fiscus’ third-grade class inspired change at Black Bob Elementary. After reading a story about baseball legend Babe Ruth, students discussed ways that he gave back to his community.
“I told my students that they can do anything as long as they are determined and believe in themselves,” said Fiscus.
While many students realized that adults commonly are the ones who are able to make change occur, one student, Auvie Gray, said that she didn’t want to wait until she was 18 and that she wanted to help provide a little free library for her school.
After meeting with Principal Trisha Putthoff and brainstorming ways to fundraise, Auvie and her classmates held a bake sale during the fall parent teacher conferences. To further their understanding of fundraising, students also met with Tom Coones whose Jared Coones Pumpkin Run/Walk is hosted annually by Black Bob Elementary.
With an initial round of funds raised, students toured little free libraries in the area at other Olathe schools so they could decide what their own library would look like. Upon further investigation, they contacted the builder of several little free libraries, Fossil Forge, to get an idea of how much one would cost and realized more fundraising would be needed.
Matthew Bentley had a unique opportunity to attend an Olathe Chamber of Commerce Chamber Coffee event with his mother. She helped him create business cards to hand out to several business partners in attendance and Matthew networked and explained their desire for a little free library. During the holiday season, students made holiday cards for all the businesses that interacted with Matthew as a personal touch and through follow-up calls, donations started to pour in.
Not only were the donations large enough to cover the cost of the library, extra funds will be used to plant Monarch Milkweed to sustain a Monarch garden which will help teach life cycles to third-grade classrooms.
On May 3, students held an unveiling of their custom little free library.
“This experience will always hold special memories for my students as well as myself,” said Fiscus. “I know this class will always make sure the library is filled with books even when they no longer attend Black Bob. I am the luckiest teacher to have these students!”