By Jason Wesseldyk
On Friday, Sept. 22, Gilkey Elementary School in Plainwell held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newest addition to the building.
With Gilkey reading specialist Chad Boender acting as master of ceremonies, Gilkey students, staff members and special guests officially welcomed a book vending machine to the school.
The machine houses several popular books ranging from picture books for the school’s youngest readers to chapter books for the more advanced readers. Titles include “The Pout-Pout Fish,” “Fly Guy,” “The Bad Guys,” and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.”
Unlike traditional vending machines that accept money, the book vending machine accepts special tokens. Each month, teachers will be given tokens to give to students.
Students can earn a token through meeting learning goals, positive behavior and working hard in the classroom.
Once they have secured a token, students can insert it into the vending machine and select the book they want. The books are free to the students and theirs to keep.
Third-grade student Avery and fifth-grade student Rhianna were the first to be selected to use the vending machine.
Funds for the vending machine were donated by the following local businesses: Ransom District Library; Parker Hannifin, HyTech, TruVista, the Bennett Family Agency, Cornell Associates & Realtors; and Amy Hamilton from Jaqua Realtors.
Representatives from these businesses were on hand at the ceremony. Ransom Library director Joe Gross was selected to cut the ribbon.
Following the ceremony, several of the guests went into various classrooms to read to the Gilkey students.