Several school years ago, a group of Bobcats started a student run text book exchange. We have written about them before, and shared how much they helped several schools in the under funded Alum Rock School District. The founders have since graduated, but The Book Exchange has remained a strong tradition on campus. Cue to 2020, and many lower income families are struggling even more than in a non-pandemic year, and any support for education related activities is more important than ever before. When everything went remote, our Bobcats rose to the challenge: operations went online, bags of text books were dropped off via gloved hands, and masked students counted and organized stacks of books.
As the 2021-2022 year began, our Book Exchange members had been at work cataloguing and sorting books all summer long. Their efforts did not go unnoticed however, as this year the team donated more than $10,500 worth of supplies to two schools in the Alum Rock Union School District: Cesar Chavez Elementary School and Renaissance Academy at Lee Mathson Middle School. These campuses received a whopping supply of 600 Back to School kits, 600 Personal Care Kits, 2,000+ notebooks, 500 headphones, 3,000 face masks, as well as white boards, crayons, highlighters, markers, glue sticks, erasers, pencils, pens and more than 20 gallons of hand sanitizer. We could not be more proud of our Bobcats for their time, effort and determination to achieve this amazing goal!
The partnership between our Book Exchange and the Alum Rock Union School District (ARUSD) is an incredibly important one. Although BASIS Independent Silicon Valley is located only about five miles away from some of the schools in the district, we are an economic world away. Over 90% of the students who attend some of these schools fall into a much lower socioeconomic bracket than our families. They are eligible for free/reduced priced meals, many students don't have personal space at home for studying, and money for school supplies is often in shortage. Given that Mathematics and English language proficiencies at these schools is at 19% and 34% respectively, The Book Exchange is working on launching a unique online tutoring program to help students at the ARUSD. Hopefully, this program can be launched next year once the district provides final approval.
This school year saw some some exciting changes in The Book Exchange's operations. Anaiy S., class of '22, who has been actively involved with the Book Exchange program over the last four years said, "This year was super special as we expanded to the BASIS Independent Fremont campus, and improved our online platform for managing inventory. We dipped into innovative avenues of fundraising and book donations. Mr. Roland Flores, General Manager of the Staples store in Campbell, not only helped with the excellent discounts, but also donated three truckloads of new school supplies. I personally ran a chess camp with younger students, and donated all proceeds to our campaign. Principals of both of the recipient schools, Dr. Julio Villalobos and Vince Iwasaki have always been very supportive of our efforts, and we are fortunate to play a small role in their student communities."
Bobcats browsing the stacks of available books during the Back to School Festival
Ethan L., class of '24, and Ian Y., class of '25, handled the majority of book intake, pricing, cataloguing books, and managing the sales over the summer. Mithil P., class of '25, led the collection and payment of funds for the buyers and sellers, as well as sold books on Ebay to increase profits for the cause. Atharv D., class of '25 at BASIS Independent Fremont, helped to expand the program to a second campus. All in all, they saw sales of approximately 1000 books this cycle. It was a big year for The Book Exchange; one that was clearly worth all the effort based on the sheer amount of supplies they were able to donate.
We are always so impressed by our students and the ways in which they commit their time to serve the their local communities. As we approach the end of year holidays, and the season of giving, we continue to be grateful for our Bobcats, and the ways in which they prioritize the needs of others. While participating in this program clearly serves an important purpose for those who are recipients of donations, it also offers our Bobcats an incredible leadership opportunity. With Anaiy graduating this year, The Book Exchange is recruiting Bobcats to help run the efforts next year. Please reach out to Anaiy if you are interested, or if you have any questions about the program.
BASIS Independent Silicon Valley is a TK - Grade 12 private school, providing students an internationally benchmarked liberal arts and sciences curriculum, with advanced STEM offerings. Considering joining the Bobcat community? Join our interest list by clicking here to receive admissions updates for fall 2022 and more.