The students at George W. Julian School 57 love to read!
“Curious George,” “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” “Big Nate” and
“Minecraft” are just a sampling of titles the kindergarten through sixth-grade students
enjoy. Luckily for them, these books and many more have found a home inside the
school’s newly unveiled Ben Carson Reading Room.
On June 2, the student body and staff were joine
d by several
community friends for the grand opening of the room, sponsored by the Magnant family,
during an afternoon assembly. Brandon Randall, parent involvement educator at
George W. Julian, served as the emcee.
The room — with its bookshelves filled with various titles, a
colorful mural and modern furniture — was gifted to George W. Julian
because it’s where Pete and Jean Magnant’s five children attended at various
times during their elementary school years. The room was commemorated in honor
of Jean Magnant’s 100th birthday.
While hanging onto the arm of her oldest son, Jean Magnant
addressed the students. “I hope you young people enjoy reading as much as I
do,” she said.
The school presented a framed certificate, signed by all of
the students, to the Magnant family for making the Ben Carson Reading Room
George W. Julian is one of eight IPS schools with a Ben Carson
Reading Room. There are 149 such rooms in 19 states and Washington D.C. The
rooms are part of the Ben Carson Reading Project, an initiative of the Carson
The fund was founded by retired pediatric neurosurgeon and
former 2016 presidential candidate Ben Carson and his wife, Candy. The purpose
of the reading project is to create a literacy-enriched environment for
children to develop their reading skills and to unlock their full potential.
Throughout the assembly, brief remarks were made by various
community guests, including
Rev. Robert Heimach (Irvington Presbyterian), Brandon Cosby
(executive director at Flanner House) and Jasmine Burditt (Mayor’s Office of
which gave honor to the Magnant family and acknowledged the reading room.
He thanked the Magnant family for their gift and talked about his love for
“I love to read because it helps me get smart and learn new
words that I don’t know. I also like reading because I learn about new people
and new places,” he said. “I like the new reading room because it has lots of
books in it.”
George W. Julian Principal Debra Ashley compared the
school’s new reading room to a magic carpet because of the many books inside
and the different places books can take you.
“This student-friendly room, full of adventures, mysteries,
biographies and more will support a lifelong love of reading as well as deepening
our students’ understanding of themselves in the world and the possibilities
that exist in their futures,” said Principal Ashley. “George W. Julian
Elementary is grateful to the Magnant family for their sponsorship and
selection of our school for a Ben Carson Reading Room.”
The room will be open for a few days until school ends for
the year on June 8, but will be in full swing
when students return to school in August.