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Alumni, Community ‘Check-in’ with 1,200-plus Book Donation to Normandy High School Library

WELLSTON, MO -- The library bookshelves at Normandy High School have more selections to choose from, thanks to the generosity of Normandy alumni and members of the community.

     Karen Green, a member of the Normandy High School Class of 1977, said she came up with the idea to give back to her alma mater as a service project for her co-workers and students at The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management at Washington University. The Consortium is a nonprofit that works to increase diversity in master’s in business administration programs and corporate America nationwide.  

     “I’ve done so many fundraisers, I thought I should do something for my former school,” said Green who serves as the manager for individual giving at CGSM.

     Revamping NHS’ library is a community project, Green said. Green created a wishlist on AmazonSmile where supporters bought over 200 books with a small percentage of eligible purchases benefiting the Consortium.

     On Giving Tuesday, the Consortium — in partnership with Sterling Bank, Normandy students, staff, and alumni — delivered, cataloged, stamped, stickered, covered and shelved more than 1,200 books for the high school library. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday is a widely recognized shopping event like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and kicks off the charitable season.

     Green collaborated with Normandy’s English department and library media specialist Linda Mixon to compile a list of books based on students’ interests. The goal was to increase the number of current African-American authors in the school’s collection like former First Lady Michelle Obama and her book Becoming, which was among donated books.

     To have books donated, Mixon said, saves the school hundreds of dollars which can be repurposed to improve other areas of the library’s collection.

     “The goal is to create a library space that is more inviting and encourages students to get more involved in their education,” she added.

     Green credits Jacqueline Buck-Horton, a board member for the Normandy High School Alumni Association, with being a driving force in the project.

     “Green and I were connected by another alum who told her that ‘Jacqueline is the person you need to work with on this project,’” Buck-Horton said.

     Buck-Horton solicited additional book donations from Sterling Bank, ThriftBooks, LLC, and Half-Price Books in University City, Mo. She also secured monetary donations from Sterling Bank and two alums with one donor providing $5,000.

     Buck-Horton, a member of the Normandy High School Class of 1978, said she’s heavily involved with her alma mater and believes it’s important to pay it forward.

     “I bleed red and green,” said Buck-Horton, vice president of Community Development at Sterling Bank. “It’s not only the library books that have been important in my life, but the library itself has carried a special meaning for me as it was a place to gather.”

     The next two phases of the project will focus on leveraging support for library renovations by partnering with Maryville University’s Darlene Davison, director of the Interior Design Program and associate professor of Interior Design. Davis’ design class will create three design improvement options as part of their coursework this semester. The improvements will help transform the library into a 21st Century learning environment.

     Mixon’s vision for the library includes relocating the computer lab to a more secluded space.

     “The way the facility is currently set up, the computer lab is right at the front door of the library,” Mixon said. “During the spring, I close down the library because we use the computer lab for state testing.”

      She is also exploring the idea of adding a makerspace, a collaborative work space to provide students with more hands-on experiments in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math).

      “The book drive was just to get us going,” Green said. “The community will help us finish this project, hopefully, by next Giving Tuesday.”

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CAPTION: Volunteers, alumni and staff recently delivered and stacked donated books to the Normandy High School library. More than 1,200 books along with cash donations were collected for the school’s library.