When Cindra Boring read the first words of an email regarding the Dollar General Literacy Foundation Back to School Grant, she thought the worst.
“After careful consideration…” it read. Boring, the William Blount Ninth Grade Academy media specialist, said she had read those words before when getting grant rejection letters.
But much to her delight, and to the benefit of her students, Boring realized the email she was reading bore good news. “We are pleased to inform you that your organization has been selected to receive the Back to School Grant for $5,000,” the letter read. “We are proud to support your efforts to promote literacy, and we wish you every success in the coming year.”
Boring said the money will be used to buy non-fiction books for the Ninth Grade Academy library. She applied for the grant in May and got the good new in late August.
“I wanted to focus on getting non-fiction books so our kids can do research,” she said.
Boring has won grants for her library in the past, like the Go Green grant from the Leadership Blount Class of 2009 and the Coordinated School Health Grant for $1,000 to fund health-related books.
“But this is the largest grant I’ve gotten. Was I excited? I started screaming and ran and read it to everybody. I was so excited. That’s a budget. We just don’t have a budget here. Libraries really struggle, and we have to write grants and do fundraising to get money,” she said.
This is the Ninth Grade Academy’s third year at William Blount High School. When it was created, a new library was set up, but there were no funds for books so students had to share books with the library used by the upper classmen at the high school.
“I know $5,000 sounds like a lot, and it will buy maybe 200 books unless I can find place where I can get them cheaper, but I want to find the most up-to-date books,” Boring said.
Boring and teachers at the Ninth Grade Academy aren’t slowing down their search for more dollars for books. The school is also hoping to be awarded a Pepsi Refresh Grant worth $250,000.
“That would be lots of money if we get into it. We need that money to get these books in here,” she said. “It is not fair to the kids to not have recent fiction and non-fiction. We want to educate them and help them do well. It is all about the kids.”
Director of Schools Rob Britt was impressed with the grant and praised those teachers and staff who pursue grants. “It was outstanding, and I’m really pleased for and proud of those staff members who went the extra mile to try to secure additional funding for their programs in the ninth grade academy. Of course we greatly appreciate Dollar General in their generosity in providing that grant money to the school,” Britt said.