“Imagine if there was a magic door that you could step through and enter a world of knowledge and opportunity,” said Stephen T Frahm, the United States Charge d’Affairs for Grenada, in an address to students at Grenada Christian Academy. “There is such a magic door at your school – it’s the door to your school library.”
To recognise the school’s excellence in advancing child literacy through the creation of a lending library, Hands Across the Sea has just awarded Grenada Christian Academy the 2017-2018 Hands Across the Sea Literacy Award for Grenada. The award comes with US$1,000 value in new reading books or other literacy support materials of the school’s choice. Child-literacy NGO Hands Across the Sea, which has strongly supported the school library, sent the school a total of 832 new books requested via the Hands Wish Lists system in the 2014-2015, 2016-2017, and 2017-2018 school years. Grenada Christian Academy has demonstrated that a secondary school does not have to be big and fancy and located in the middle of the big city to reach for the stars — this small rural high school has one of the best school libraries and Student Librarian programmemes on Grenada.
With the full support and encouragement of Principal Catherine King and Olivia Phillip, the Hands Literacy Link for Grenada, Delinger Rennie has made the school library an integral and important part of student life with special book themes and activities such as reading competitions, and has extended the library’s reach to the community, too. In addition, Hands Literacy Link Olivia Phillip trained a team of student librarians to run the library checkout desk, keep the book collection organised, help other students find a book, and promote reading and library usage in the school.
“The Principal, staff, and students of Grenada Christian Academy have demonstrated a passion for books, reading, and the school library, and the implementation of the Student Librarian programme is a key element in the sustainability of the library programme,” says Harriet Linskey, the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Hands Across the Sea. “The benefits to Student Librarians in this position of responsibility are clear: the students gain self-esteem and the satisfaction of doing a good job, and their growing enthusiasm for books, reading and the library spreads to students across the school.”
Hands Across the Sea is the largest and most effective child-literacy organisation serving Grenada. Since 2010 the American-based NGO has created or rejuvenated 55 projects on the island, from primary schools to secondary schools, and has sent 37,940 new amazing books, reaching 16,770 children. Hands Across the Sea utilises a Hands Wish Lists system in which school principals, teachers, literacy coordinators, and U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers specify which books are needed for their school. Olivia Phillip, the Hands Literacy Link for Grenada, works to ensure sustainability of each Hands project. On Grenada, Hands is ably assisted by the Sandals Foundation and Scotiabank Community Programme. Complete information about the Hands Student Librarian Programme can be found on the Hands Across the Sea website: http://www.handsacrossthesea.net/StudentLibrarians.htm