This Gastonia principal will gift a donated book to each student on their birthday this year

Updated: Aug. 17, 2019 at 10:36 AM EDT
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GASTONIA, N.C. (WBTV) - The principal of Pleasant Ridge Elementary in Gastonia is trekking across town - for books.

“I decided to share on social media to see if any of my friends wanted to clean out their bookcases,” Glenn Cook says. “And sure enough, it has spiraled.”

Cook got the idea to gift each of his 900 students with a new book on their birthday this year.

“I want the kids to get excited about books,” he says. “And I want them to see me excited about books as well.”

Local businesses have stepped up to the plate, conducting their own collections and handing them over to the principal.

“We already had a full box, and I’m hoping to get more,” Michele Clear at Great Clips says.

Cook got the gift idea from another principal.

“On [students’] birthdays she will walk to their classroom, and give the kids a pencil,” he says. “And so I was like, ‘That’s a neat idea.’”

He then read an article that inspired him.

“How the school leaders will carry a book everywhere they go,” he says.

He decided he would give the gift of stories.

“It can open your eyes to creativity,” Cook says. “It prompts the opportunity for students to be able to create, to wonder.”

Now, he and his daughters are sorting and stacking, in his office. With 10 days left until the start of school, they are about half way to having a book for each student.

“It’s pretty powerful to know that I don’t know what they have in their libraries at home," Cook says, "but I can guarantee they do have this one book that they got to choose.”

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