September 16, 2005

Students at Encanto Elementary Experience “Extreme Library Makeover’

The first full week of classes at San Diego’s Encanto Elementary was kicked off with cheers of excitement this morning, as students got their first glimpse of their recently-built library, filled with $25,000 worth of new books and technology equipment. The reason for their surprise is understandable; prior to this fall, Encanto’s “library” was a small, cramped classroom with not nearly enough books per student. Today, students saw a gleaming new library filled with nearly 3,500 brand new books, computer software, a new laptop computer and a new video projector. These items resulted from a $25,000 donation from local mortgage company Town & Country Credit (TCC), as part of their “Smart Money for Education” philanthropic program. The library structure itself was built over the summer months from Proposition MM funds.

“TCC developed the ‘Smart Money for Education’ initiative because we believe it’s important to support the communities where our customers live and work,” explained Dan Upton, Town & Country Credit’s president and chief operating officer. “In developing the initiative, we consulted a panel of San Diego principals and assistant principals to help us identify the greatest need at their schools. The overwhelming response was libraries – and books, in particular, were the areas that needed the most help. Then we asked the San Diego Unified School District to help us identify the right school. We selected Encanto as the recipient of the $25,000 library makeover because we were impressed with the tremendous turnaround that Principal Madden is leading and we wanted to be a part of the school’s success.”

The unveiling ceremony was attended by students, teachers, Principal Jean Madden, interim Superintendent Leslie Fausset, and Town & Country Credit COO Dan Upton. There was even a visit from celebrity actor and writer Ben Stein (“Win Ben Stein’s Money” and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off), who serves as TCC’s spokesperson. All four spoke to the crowd about the new library and Stein even had a “storytime” with the students in their new library.

Fausset spoke to students and teachers about the importance of private companies partnering with schools to help offset the constant budget shortfalls. “It’s wonderful when companies like Town & Country Credit donate funds to help our schools meet their budgets that are increasingly strained. This donation will allow our students access to books and technology that they otherwise would not have,” she notes. “The donation is worth so much more than just the $25,000 dollar figure, as the books and equipment will be enriching Encanto’s students’ lives for years to come.”

“This contribution is a huge win for our students,” agrees Jean Madden, Encanto Elementary’s principal.

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