Frogs could be kissed; camels could deliver books in Kenya

There’s a chance that some adults at London Middle School will kiss a frog on the last day of school.

Debra Toney, the school’s Right To Read coordinator, has challenged the student body to raise a combined total of $500 for the Camel Book Drive, a charity that delivers books by camel to nomadic children in Kenya.

The fund drive began during Right To Read Week, May 12-16, and will continue through June 3. The reward the students enjoy on June 4, the last day of school, depends on the amount of money they raise.

For $100, they can chew gum in school. For $200, they get to listen to their iPods in class. For $300, it’s snacks and pop. The $400 mark means a staff-versus-students volleyball game. If $500 is reached, Toney and her fellow language arts teachers Justin Emrick and Angela Hunter, along with Principal Mark Elliott, will smooch the frog.

“This is the first year we have picked a charity to donate to,” said Toney, noting that London Middle School media specialist Danette Cunningham approached her earlier in the school year with the Camel Book Drive information.

“It fit well with the idea of Right To Read Week, because we want everyone to have the right to read. Plus, it kind of went with the ‘magical’ theme we picked. You can change a child’s life, which is pretty magical.”

Students, parents, staff and the community can donate to the Camel Book Drive one of two ways. They can make a monetary donation, which the school will use to purchase books. Checks should be made out to “London Middle School.” Or, they can purchase specific books from the Camel Book Drive wish list and drop them off at the school. (The official languages for Kenya are English and Swahili.)

Toney and student council officers Victoria Blain and Sarah Dunham spoke about the book drive at the May 19 London Board of Education meeting. The students also outlined the spirit days they enjoyed during Right To Read Week, all of which were centered on the magical fairytale theme.

For a copy of the book wish list or more information, call Debra Toney at London Middle School at 740-852-5700 or go to

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