A former Cumberland resident’s love for her childhood home and reading has led to a generous donation of books to the Cumberland Elementary School Library/Media Center.
Media Specialist Kim Williams said the donation will go a long way in assisting her center “to foster the love of reading and empower students to be lifelong learners.”
Then a resident of Plantation, Fla., Brenda Huff Shannon died in December 2012. To keep her memory alive, her daughters, grandchildren and a longtime friend and her family decided they wanted to do a memorial project that will keep on giving to those in the area where their loved one grew up.
The idea for the Cumberland Book Project was born.
Talmage and Ruby Huff, Shannon’s parents, were educators in the area for many years. Shannon herself worked in education for many years as a teacher and administrator.
As a result of planning and implementation of their book project, the family recently visited the Cumberland Elementary School to deliver boxes of books purchased by various family members, friends and others to be placed on the shelves in the library for the use of students at the school. Each book donated has a memorial plate inside the cover.
By the time of their visit, more than 120 books had been donated with a cost exceeding $2,200. The books were selected from a wish list compiled by the school librarian.
Making the trek to Cumberland were daughters Amy Spector, of Pittsburg, Penn., and Susan Maxik, of Melbourne, Fla., and their children Emily Spector, 11, Zachary Spector, 9, Sam Spector, 5, Dylan Maxik, 10, and Ian Maxik, 12.
Amy Spector said the project provided “a wonderful opportunity to meet the people who helped put this together and for the kids to come and see where their grandmother came from… I just hope they love the books and want to read more of them.”
Dylan Maxik said he enjoyed his role in the project. “I loved it. I helped put the books in the boxes. It was truly a great project to the school.”
Zachary said, “I thought it was a brilliant idea. I like to do things to help other schools and other people.”
Ian said he utilized the project to help meet required community service hours at his middle school.
The grandchildren were involved in various ways, including recording names of those who donated books and contributed in any way to their effort, and also raised money to purchase books through bake sales and lemonade stands.
Nawanna Privett, of Lexington, who was Shannon’s best childhood friend, and her daughter, Stephanie Fister, granddaughter, Hannah, and great-grandchild Noah, 18 months, took part in the drive and assisted the family with the delivery to the school.
Privett, a member of the Kentucky Board of Education, said she was elated to be involved with the project and its success. She also commented on the memorial which will be in place for years.
“Flowers are there for a day,” said Privett. “This project in memory of Brenda Huff Shannon will be there through many generations of young learners.”
Williams expressed appreciation to the family for the project.
“We are so privileged to be the recipient of the project honoring Brenda Huff Shannon. Mrs. Huff Shannon began her education at Cumberland elementary, became an educator herself, and with Cumberland Book Project, her legacy continues right here where it began,” she said.
Williams said working with a limited budget each year, it is a difficult task to keep the library’s collection current.
“This donation consisting of both fiction and non fiction hardbound books allows us to extend our collection, promoting literacy, a key component in both academic and life success. I think Mrs. Huff Shannon’s family have found a perfect way to honor their mother.”
Amy Spector said her mother “would be thrilled, she would just be thrilled” with the project and having the books placed on the shelves at the Cumberland school.
A list of requested books remains available on Amazon for anyone who would like to help continue the project.