Unusual vending machine at St. Patrick School

Seventh-grader Daniel Dumolt inserts a token as he makes a selection from the St. Patrick School book vending machine. He earned the token for helping a teacher set up her classroom before school.

(Posted Jan. 11, 2024)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

There’s a new vending machine at St. Patrick School in London, but it’s not your typical vending machine. Instead of dispensing snacks or drinks, it dispenses books. And instead of inserting money, users insert tokens earned through positive actions and achievements.

“We’re using it as part of our positive incentive for going above and beyond,” said Principal Rick Logue. “I’ve found that kids respond better to positive reinforcement. It helps with classroom management and academics and how much they enjoy school. We’re shining the light on good things.”

Students who are named Students of the Month or who receive Shamrock Shout Outs earn tokens for the vending machine.

Rhett Cambill, a second-grader, retrieves his book selection from the St. Patrick School book vending machine. He earned a token for the machine as a December Student of the Month.

Each month, the school promotes a different virtue. In December, it was service. Students who exemplify the chosen virtue are named students of the month. For example, two of December’s honorees helped a teacher set up her classroom before school.

The Shamrock Shout Outs are new this school year. They are acknowledgements of students who go the extra mile in their actions during the school day. These actions are recognized not only at the school but also through postcards sent home to honorees’ parents. One recent Shout Out recipient comforted a younger student who was nervous at a group function at the school.

Tokens for the book vending machine are another layer of acknowledgement for these students’ good deeds and behaviors, Logue said.

St. Patrick School’s new book vending machine is stocked with books for all grade levels at the school, K-8. Students earn tokens for the machine through positive behaviors and actions.

The school, which serves students in kindergarten through eighth grade, applied for and received a grant from the Catholic Foundation to purchase the vending machine and a starter set of books with which to stock it. The machine was installed the first week of January.

“Our librarian selected books for all grade levels, from picture books up to novels, plus some action Bibles. It’s a little bit of everything,” Logue said.

Logue explained that he chose books as incentives because he is a former language arts teacher, books are educational, and St. Patrick students really like to read.

“There was a lot of excitement in the cafeteria when the vending machine was delivered,” he said.

The school will use a variety of methods to purchase books to keep the vending machine stocked, including accepting donations. For details, call the school at (740) 852-0161.

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