Alumni raise money for 'books that represent' project for their former elementary schools

Germantown, Tennessee--June 29, 2020--Houston High School alumnae Stephanie Barton and Rachel Lazure have just graduated college.  Barton studied business and finance at the University of South Carolina while Lazure majored in Biology at NYU.  But, after reflecting on national events over the last month, Barton remembered something. 
“I was taking Mr. Robinson’s Human Geography class at Houston High School.  For the first time it occurred to me that in his classroom there wasn’t a real [demographically, speaking] representation of the world,” said Barton.  The AP Human Geography course examines racial diversity as an important part of geography and culture.  As she was reflecting on her experience, she also noticed that one of her former classmates from the University of South Carolina, Drew Jurs, had launched a successful project in his hometown in Gastonia, North Carolina.  Jurs raised money to purchase books for his former elementary school.  “The books feature people of color protagonists and/or celebrate black culture.  I was so inspired as I was thinking about a way to help,” said Barton. 

Rachel and Stephanie researched which books to buy, assembled a budget, and put their aspirations to action.  “Before we started, we wanted to reach out to GMSD, and the Superintendent quickly put us in touch with Ms. Price,” said Lazure.  Teresa Price, who serves as the Assistant Superintendent over Teaching, Learning, and Assessment was touched.  “We immediately agreed to match the funds they are able to raise,” said Price.  “First, we were extremely impressed with the way they approached us.  These are our students and GMSD is proud that we are creating world changers—that’s what we want to see.  It’s also special that our own students are coming back to reinvest in their schools,” she said.

The project will purchase 184 books for Kindergarten and first-grade classrooms at all four elementary schools in the district.  The alumni have begun a Go Fund Me page to raise $3,000 with the district pledging to match dollar for dollar. 

“We are very proud of our district and their continuous effort to improve.  We realize this [project] is a small gesture in a much larger, systemic issue.  However, we truly believe in the power of education,” wrote Barton on the Go Fund Me page.

The Go Fund Me page posted over the weekend and has already raised $2,560 dollars towards its $3,000 goal.   

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