Candy Carson inspired Rock Hill students to read with a story about her pediatric neurosurgeon husband, Ben Carson, who she said “did not do well in school as a child.”
After Carson began reading a lot, the former presidential candidate “went from being the dumbest kid in the class to being a brain surgeon,” she told students at Old Pointe Elementary School Thursday.
Candy Carson said the change happened after Carson’s mother turned off the television and sent her son to the library, where Carson had to read two books a week and write a book report on each.
Carson told the story about her husband to hundreds of students gathered for the opening of the school’s Ben Carson Reading Room, a school and business partnership project paid for with a $15,000 grant from the Carson Scholars Fund. The Carsons established the fund to promote literacy.
The colorful room, decorated with an ocean theme, “is a special place filled with hundreds of books,” said Carson, who told students that “magical things happen when you open a book.”
Eight-year-old Julia Faircloth, one of several students who were reading in the room Thursday, said reading is her favorite subject because “I can use my imagination a lot.”
Ten-year-old Holly Penza, who enjoys reading non-fiction adventure books, said she likes the room’s calming ocean theme, which includes a colorful mural.
The room was sponsored by Domtar, a Fort Mill-based manufacturer of paper and wood products, which is raising money to open 10 reading rooms across the country.
The Ben Carson room at Old Pointe is the first in South Carolina and the fifth to open as part of the Domtar partnership.
Charlie Floyd, Domtar vice president of operational performance, said employees raised the money through charitable events and volunteered to help set up the room.
The reading room, stocked with more than $6,000 worth of books, will be used to inspire children to read, said Assistant Principal Bianca Chivers-White, who helped with the grant.
Each Old Pointe class will visit weekly to allow students time for independent reading, Chivers-White said. The room also will be open before school and for students in after-school programs.
Jennifer Becknell: 803-329-4077