Sister Lakes book giveaway larger than ever

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, December 22, 2015

(Submitted photo)

(Submitted photo)

Last Christmas, a generous donation to allow the students of Rachel Kyncl’s classroom at Sister Lakes Elementary School have a book for the holidays snowballed into something the entire school benefited from.

This year, students across the entire Dowagiac Union Schools district enjoyed the gift of reading shortly before break, as the teacher’s “Scholastic Santa” program returned larger than ever.

Last week, the students at Sister Lakes once again got the chance to pick out a free book of their choosing, ordered by Kyncl from the Scholastic Corporation with money donated by the teacher’s friends, family and others from the community. In all, Kyncl was able to give away more than $500 worth of books (around 480 in total), to students — so many, in fact, that she has had to donate the extras to the district’s other elementary schools, as well as the middle and high school, she said.

“The kids were so excited again,” Knycl said. “It was just so awesome.”

Knycl started what is now an annual Christmas tradition last year, after one of her longtime friends donated money to her classroom after seeing a picture the teacher posted online of one of her students paying for a new Scholastic book. From there, others began to donate to the project, with Knycl able to purchase more than $200 worth of books for students across the entire school.

Bolstered by her success last year, the educator once again reached out for contributions on her Facebook pages — and her friends across the country delivered once again, allowing her to bring back the book exchange bigger than ever.

“I’m glad I know so many generous people, because without them we wouldn’t be able to this,” she said.

With three kids of her own who are avid readers, to once again be able to share the love of reading with children across the district is something Knycl cherishes, she said.

“To see kids get excited about books, [kids] who might not otherwise have able to buy new ones, it fills my heart,” she said.