When Mississippi First Lady Deborah Bryant visited W.C. Williams Elementary School in January to read to kindergarten and first-grade students, she declared that she “loved the Delta.” She also promised to send the almost 50 students in attendance books they could read at home or school.
Last week, the First Lady kept her promise and sent hundreds of books to the students. But, she went one step further. Not only did she send enough books to the students who are now first- and second-graders, she donated enough books for the almost 300 students who have enrolled in school for the 2014-15 year.
“The students, teachers and I appreciate the generous donations from our First Lady,” Principal Charles Johnson said. “It was promised when she was here that we would receive enough books to supply our kindergartners and first-graders. To receive enough books to supply all of our students helps us in our efforts to promote literacy.”
Johnson said literacy is a top priority in the Greenwood school district and in the state.
“We need to make sure that every child is able to read. Having a book in their hands makes this possible,” he said.
Johnson, who earlier this week distributed a book bag to every student, said the timing of the book donation was almost perfect.
“When I gave the students the book bags as part of the school’s student incentive program, I told them there were strings attached to the incentive,” he said. “I told them they must keep a book in their bag, and they had to read it every night with their parents or guardians. Had I known the exact date the books were arriving, I would have put a book in each book bag for them.”
“We are so appreciative to the First Lady for not only visiting our district but also helping us promote literacy,” Greenwood Superintendent Montrell Greene said. “One of the district’s goals is to increase student achievement, and that can only be accomplished through teamwork. The First Lady is truly a part of our team.”
Bryant has been traveling across the state as part of her “Read Across Mississippi” initiative. She said she chose to visit Williams, because she has heard that the school is “doing a marvelous job,” and she simply “wanted to be a part of it.” Williams was the 10th school Mrs. Bryant had visited at the time. She said she plans to visit one school in each of the state’s 82 counties by the end of 2014.