Get Schooled: Seaford Students Have Big Dreams for Little Libraries

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Get Schooled IanYork County is about to get four new libraries thanks to a group of students at Seaford Elementary School.

Students in first, second and third grade at Seaford have spent the last semester crafting four “little libraries” that will be installed throughout the county.

Resembling the Little Free Library nonprofit, which encourages communities to set up small book depositories for use by residents on a “take a book-return a book” policy, Seaford’s little libraries will offer reading material to residents around the county.

“It’s been a very big effort,” Seaford Principal Christina Head said.

That big effort on the little libraries began as a suggestion from third-grade teacher Heather Long. Every year, Seaford tries to organize a school-wide volunteer project, bringing together students and teachers from every grade level to help their community.

This school year, the fourth- and fifth-grade classes had other class projects that prevented them from setting aside the time necessary for the school-wide volunteer project.

With only the first-, second- and third-grade classes ready to participate, Long thought of a possible project — creating a series of little libraries. The project aligned well with the classes’ curricula, as literacy was a recurring theme.

“Seaford had just had an author and artist night, where students wrote their own stories and made their own artwork,” Head said. “Some grade levels wanted to incorporate that into the little libraries.”

One of the little libraries is in the shape of a bulldog, the Seaford Elementary School mascot. (Courtesy York County School Division)
One of the little libraries is in the shape of a bulldog, the Seaford Elementary School mascot. (Courtesy York County School Division)

The classes got to work. Students at all levels were encouraged to donate books to be included in the little libraries. Each grade level was also assigned a specific task.

First-graders would write original stories for inclusion on the library shelves. Second-grade students would read books and write short reviews of them to include with the volumes themselves. Third-grade students would have the most labor-intensive job — designing and building the library cabinets.

Long said the Seaford students approached their tasks with enthusiasm, designing creative and fun looks for their library cabinets, including a bull dog and a robot. A Seaford parent who is also a journeyman cabinet maker helped the students draw up blueprints for their designs.

With the designs completed, the students were ready to build the little library cabinets, but they needed some additional help.

“We’re studying measurements, so we wanted to use those skills to make the little libraries,” Long said. “It seems easy, but explaining how to do it can be challenging, like explaining to a student that the cabinet should be two feet wide instead of four feet wide. Plus, there’s the issue of using power tools.”

Long got in touch with students at New Horizons Regional Education Center’s vocational program to help build the cabinets. Using materials donated by Kempsville Building Supply, Wayne Harbin Builders, Design Tech Inc. and the SES PTA, the New Horizons students helped the Seaford students cut the wood for the project and assemble the cabinets.

While the Little Free Library group encourages users to replace any books they take, Head said Seaford’s little libraries will not be regulated, allowing community members to freely enjoy the books.

“I’m just impressed by how well the [New Horizons and Seaford students] interacted with each other,” Head said. “They learned so much more with this project than we had hoped.”

The little libraries should be installed over the next few weeks at four locations in the county: Seaford Elementary School, the Sommerville Community, the York County School Board Office on Dare Road and Ben & Jerry’s on Water Street.

 

Jamestown Students Named to All-State Band, Chorus

Jamestown students Sydney Snowden (left) and Josh Kaurich were honored for their musical skills. (Courtesy Williamsburg-James City County Schools)
Jamestown students Sydney Snowden (left) and Josh Kaurich were honored for their musical skills. (Courtesy Williamsburg-James City County Schools)

Two students at Jamestown High School have been honored for their musical accomplishments.

Senior Josh Kaurich and junior Sydney Snowden were selected as members of the Virginia All-State Band and Chorus, respectively.
Kaurich was also selected to perform with the senior regional orchestra as the first chair bass trombone, All-Virginia Jazz Ensemble as the only bass trombone and All-District Band as first chair bass trombone. He was also the student pit orchestra conductor for Jamestown theater’s production of “The Addams Family”.
Snowden was also selected for All-District Chorus and serves as vice president of Jamestown’s Choir Council.