Monday, October 24, 2011

Ringgold Reads featured in the Catoosa County News

Two weeks ago we had the opportunity to take a trip to Ringgold High School to see the new media center/library and to open boxes of books received from Random House, Inc. 
Random House was incredibly generous in their donation, sending so many books and in beautiful editions that the students are going to be thrilled to have the opportunity to read.

While we were there, Susan Gilmore was able to sign copies of her book, Looking For Salvation At The Dairy Queen for students, faculty, and staff.  This book will be the first book read in the new RHS book club that is being sponsored by Ringgold Reads.

We are grateful not only to Random House, Inc. for the amazing donation, but also to the news outlets who came to cover the donation.  The Catoosa County News has published an article which is available on their website covering Ringgold Reads and the generous donations we've received from Random House, Inc., Simon and Schuster, and individuals across the country.  You can read the full article here.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Donations from Communities in Schools Arrive

Ringgold Reads cannot thank Jayme Elliot and Rebekah Crawford enough for their work with Communities in Schools to deliver these boxes of books to students at Ringgold High School.  

Boxes of the wonderful Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins - how awesome that RHS has brand new copies of this series for students to read - and props to RHS teachers for assigning such a great book for students!

RHS teachers help unpack the boxes brought by Jayme and Rebekah (right).

Jayme Elliot (center) of Communities in Schools eagerly joined the efforts begun by Ringgold Reads to supply RHS with new and quality novels for student and curriculum use

Thank you Communities in Schools, and special thanks to Jayme Elliot for making this generous donation available to our school!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Books Received!

English teachers at Ringgold High School unpack a shipment of books donated by Simon and Schuster. Along with gratitude and thankfulness, emotions ranged from being giddy with delight to overwhelming joy to utter amazement. Thank You Simon and Schuster for contributing to Ringgold Reads and Ringgold High School.

 (From left to right) RHS English Teachers: Lee Shell, Phyllis Copeland, and Whitney Allison.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Article in the Chattanooga Times Free Press

On Friday, Joy Lukachick of the Chattanooga Times Free Press wrote an article about the work being done through Ringgold Reads to support the rebuilding of classrooms and libraries at the middle school and high school.

You can read the entire article here, but here is my favorite line:

"Gilmore and the book club members have given more than 1,500 books to the schools.  The books come from donations by people across the nation and from Random House and Simon & Schuster..."

Those people across the nation who are making this possible?  That's you!  Thank you to each and every individual who is making this possible for our city.  We are so thankful for each and every gift we've receive and we are still working on gathering books, currently focusing on Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thank you, Simon & Schuster!

Ringgold Reads is thrilled to have the chance to thank Simon & Schuster, who read about Ringgold Reads in Shelf Awareness and have responded by donating classroom quantities of each of their titles needed by the school!  This incredible donation has moved us even closer to our initial goal of filling each classroom at RHS and RMS with books.  We are each moved by the generosity of Simon & Schuster and their eagerness to contribute to developing a love of reading in students who would not otherwise have access to books this year.

Take a minute of your time to check out Simon & Schuster's website and Facebook page.  Their support not only blesses the students who will have books in their hands this fall, but is also inspiring to the book community as a whole.  The outreach of major publishing houses, such as Simon & Schuster and Random House, Inc., shows that the industry truly believes in the power of reading and its ability to change lives.  Thank you Simon & Schuster for making a difference in the lives of those of us who live in Ringgold!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Meet the Steins

From left to right: Dianne Hale, RHS guidance counselor, Eileen Stein, Sam Stein, Sharon Vaughn, RHS principal.

Watching the news footage from her Virginia home, Eileen Stein felt compelled to do something significant to help Ringgold High School which was damaged in the tornadoes back in April. She wanted to "put a face with the story" and "to help RHS students rebuild their lives and school."

Armed with a desire to make a difference, she decided to take action and make the trek down South. Mark Pierce, RHS English department head, met with Stein and her 16 year old son in Ringgold for a quick tour of the damage and the rebuilding efforts. The principal of RHS, Sharon Vaughn, was able to meet with the Steins for a briefing and for a photo. "The generosity from people like the Steins has been a constant source of encouragement for all of us at RHS. We really could not have made it through this without the magnanimous outpouring of kindness and support."

The RHS English department was thrilled with the contribution from the Stein family as it will help to continue the efforts and the vision of Ringgold Reads which is to provide and to replace books for RHS and RMS. "Meeting the Stein family was a pleasure and an honor. The genuine concern and heartfelt empathy expressed by Mrs. Stein was moving and inspiring," says Mark Pierce. "Mrs. Stein's generous donation, combined with Random House, Inc., Communities in Schools, and many other donors, is certainly making a huge impact in the lives of our students."

Random House author Susan Gregg Gilmore who is the founder of Ringgold Reads was equally delighted to hear of the recent contribution from Mrs. Stein and she expressed her sincere gratitude for the donation. New books and novels continue to arrive daily and school is set to begin on September 6.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Shelf Awareness Features Ringgold Reads

Robert Gray, a columnist for Shelf Awareness, featured Ringgold Reads in today's edition of Shelf Awareness for Professionals titled "Sometimes All You Can Do Is Help." 

Last spring, devastating tornadoes raked across the South as part of what has since become a record-breaking year for a category the NOAA calls "billion-dollar weather disasters." There have been so many other "weather events" since then--floods, storms, drought--that the media's attention span has been fully tested as it is lured from one crisis to the next. Being on the scene is the goal. Looking backward is less common.

"We're just trying to keep it in people's minds," said author Susan Gregg Gilmore recently. "Ringgold is a small town and it is easy to forget with so much sadness in the news every day."
This week we'll glance over our collective, weather-weary shoulders at a small city in Georgia where a "book-raising" effort is having an impact. Ringgold was just one of many communities wrecked by tornadoes April 27, but Gilmore had a personal stake there. It was the setting for her first novel, Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen, and it is where members of her Not So Rapid Readers book group live. When the town was grievously wounded, she wanted to do something to ease the pain and books were the remedy she knew best.

With more than a little help from her friends (Shelf Awareness, May 13, 2011), she launched Ringgold Reads, a long-term effort to rebuild the community with a particular emphasis on restocking library bookshelves at Ringgold Middle School and Ringgold High School, both of which were crushed by 195-mile-per-hour winds. 

"So much has happened since this spring when you ran that piece about Ringgold Reads and our fledgling effort to help this tornado-ravaged community," Gilmore recalled. "People from all over the country have been mailing books in, but of course we still need more! Random House has made a huge contribution of books. Every title the high school and middle school asked for that fell under an RH imprint they gave. And not one--but full classroom sets--so we are talking more than 20 titles, 35-70 of each. I also love that indie Aaron's Books, Lititz, Pa., is helping us, too. Miles and miles away but doing so much"

On its website, Aaron's has pledged that all proceeds from sales of Gilmore's novels will be donated to Ringgold Reads, emphasizing with a true handseller's craftiness that "Susan's books are perfect for book groups and to give as gifts... so buy multiple copies!"

Recently, the project received "another great donation from Communities in Schools (CIS) of Catoosa County," Gilmore said. "Basically they support students, families and schools to ensure that our kids succeed. They donated seven classroom sets. That's 245 books. I just want to shout all this good news from the mountaintop!"

The high school's English Department "is incredible--so appreciative, so humble," she added. Speaking of the Random House contribution, department head Mark Pierce said he "still cannot process this amazing gift to our department and to our students. I, too, am overwhelmed. I literally have tears in my eyes."
And the process continues. "Mark and I are already brainstorming about ways to bring authors into the classroom and I may be teaching a novel writing class this spring," Gilmore said. "And we may organize after school book clubs--partnering each club with a member of the Not So Rapid Ringgold Readers book club. Love the inter-generational blending."

In addition to blog posts that chronicle the ongoing efforts of Ringgold Reads, frequent updates appear on a Facebook page, where the enthusiasm for reaching each goal and a sense of momentum are readily apparent. Here's a sampling from yesterday morning:

(22 hours ago) Our next focus is The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. We still need copies of each book in this amazing trilogy! It only took us 2 weeks to reach our goal for To Kill a Mockingbird, let's see how quickly we can complete this one!

(14 hours ago) Thanks to donations from Communities in Schools, we have met our goal for Catching Fire and Mockingjay--but we still need more copies of The Hunger Games!

(About an hour ago) Wow--thanks to individual donations and Communities in Schools we have ALREADY met our goal for the entire Hunger Games Trilogy! Thank you so much to each person who donated!

A single sentence on the project's website beautifully sums up the Ringgold Reads philosophy: "We are embracing this opportunity to rebuild and rehabilitate our community with an emphasis on literacy and the joy of reading and writing."

Sometimes all you can do is help.--Robert Gray (column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now)