The Book Bus is the brainstorm of Dr. Robbie Adell, superintendent of Hickory Public Schools. “Upon my arrival to Hickory last year, I noticed the alarming low reading scores for our young children, particularly minority children who were just starting school.
Soon after Adell arrived in September 2015, he approached Rotarian Sandi Fotheringham, HPS Coordinator of Partners in Education/Volunteer Programs and the Executive Director of the HPS Education Foundation, Inc. “Sandi has the community contacts to make this happen—so we immediately got to work on the vision and the plan,” said Adell. “It wasn’t long until she secured the community support to help build the Book Bus.”
“With everything involved, it’s actually been a year-long process,” said Fotheringham, “and we are thrilled to be able to present the Book Bus to the community.”
Thanks to community sponsors, an old yellow school bus is new again — wrapped in white with colorful images of children, representing the wonderful diversity of Hickory Public Schools. The district’s maintenance department renovated the interior of the bus—placing book shelves for the nearly 2,000 donated books.
Fotheringham applied for grants with the Hickory Rotary Club and the Hickory Community Relations Council—winning the grants from these organizations to help fund the Book Bus.
“Starting in November 2016, the Book Bus will bring a bus load of age-appropriate books to the children,” said Adell.
In the ribbon-cutting photo:
(Back row, L-R): Conrad, Hickory Crawdads; Jonathan Waters, Adventive; Sarah Greene, director, Hickory Public Library; Steve Hunt, Hickory Housing Authority; Mike Johnson, Mike Johnson’s Hickory Toyota; Dr. Robbie Adell, HPS superintendent; John Rambo, president, Hickory Rotary Club; Chief Thurman Whisnant, Hickory Community Relations Council, Rosemary Bass Young, Bass-Smith Funeral Home; Julie Correll, HPS Board of Education; Sallie Johnson, vice chair, HPS Board of Education; Reginald Hamilton, chair, HPS Board of Education; and Margaret Pope, HPS Board of Education. Front row: “Live” book character volunteers through collaboration with HPS parent/volunteer, Molly Bass.