KENILWORTH, NJ – On Jan. 28 at Harding Elementary, the long-awaited brown tarp was pulled off the mysterious box at the end of the hallway to reveal a new Book Vending Machine. The purpose of the machine is for students to redeem books with gold coins handed out by their teachers. In an uncertain time, the entire project made such a positive impact that Meg Baker from CBS2 came to report the reading celebration which was then featured on the nightly news.
Following COVID restrictions a socially distanced reception was held in the Harding School cafeteria. Those in attendance were the students who have artwork featured on the machine, the stars of the vending machine promotional video, parents of the participants, Kenilworth Board members, Harding Principal Ronald Bubnowski, and Superintendent of Schools Kyle Arlington.
Each student received a goody bag with a personalized t-shirt that had their artwork on it. Reading themed snacks were served which included cupcakes to look like the Cat in the Hat, If You Give a Dog a Donut Doughnuts from Duck Donuts, Pete the Cat’s Groovy Button Sugar Cookies, and popcorn so that students could “pop open a good book”.
First-grade teacher Leslie Bedford who coordinated the book vending machine project, read The Word Collector to inspire the students to get their own books and be their own word collectors. The students present were the first ones to acquire the coveted golden coins for their very own book and glitter was thrown in celebration. Now each homeroom teacher has received a special bag with gold coins to reward their students with a trip to the book vending machine.
“I thought the night was awesomesauce” Mrs. Bedford said. “Hearing the kids when they came in the next day and were walking past the machine was the best sound to hear in the morning. I am looking forward to seeing kids get their books. Let the reading begin!”
To view the CBS TV report click HERE.
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