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Student teachers surprise students with new books

12/20/2012 —

Two Penn State Lehigh Valley pre-service teachers surprised the students of McKinley Elementary School in Allentown on Friday, Dec. 14, with brand new books that they had collected through donations. In all, Terrie Pinho and Samantha Shellenberger, with a little help from the Nittany Lion, distributed over 750 new books to the McKinley students.

Both Pinho and Shellenberger are completing their pre-service teaching requirement at McKinley, which is also the campus' partner in the COMPASS program (Community Partners for Student Success). They began their quest for books for the students independently, but came together to organize the distribution event that took place at the school.

Shellenberger, who also works at the 1760 Pub 'n Grille in Trexlertown, set out to collect 316 new books, which would allow her to give each child in the school a new book. When the restaurant learned of her book drive, her employer eagerly jumped on board offering a coupon to book donors and allowing the restaurant to be a drop-off location. Their efforts yielded approximately 600 new books for the McKinley students.

Pinho originally intended to purchase 29 books as gifts for each student in her class. Then she noticed how much her students coveted the school library copies of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books and knew that the latest edition was about to be released. Just as she decided to get those books for her students, Pinho learned of Shellenberger's book drive and was inspired to aim higher. She emailed family and friends asking for donations so that she could purchase 100 books, enough to provide the book to each third grader and supply the fourth and fifth grade classroom libraries. Within a week, she had 98 books and again decided to raise her goal to 165 books, which would reach every single third, fourth and fifth grader. The goal was quickly met and supplemented by a separate donation of 30 copies of the movie edition from the books' publisher, Abrams Publishing.

On Friday, Dec. 14, Shellenberger drove her book-stuffed car to McKinley and met up with Pinho to distribute the books. With the Nittany Lion on-hand to help, each student got to choose a new book to take home. McKinley School faces barriers common to many urban schools with a culturally diverse and often economically disadvantaged student population. For many of its students, the book they received was the first they could truly call their own.


For more information, contact Allison Goodin at 610-285-5067 or email aag18@psu.edu.

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