December 13, 2017
A bunch of third-graders save their local Barnes & Noble from closing, are heroes
by Stephanie DeLuca
The kids are alright.
Third graders at Tomoka Elementary School in Ormond Beach, Florida have saved the Barnes & Noble in Daytona Beach from closing by sending an impassioned letter to B&N CEO Demos Parneros, asking him not to close the store.
As Erica Breunlin reports for the Daytona Beach Sun-Journal, teacher Shaina Belsky’s third graders reached out to Parneros via a handwritten letter on poster-sized paper, telling him of their love for the store. The class suggested other locations where the store could reopen with a new lease, and invited him to come to Florida for a tour.
“We recently learned that Barnes & Noble had lost its lease on your Daytona Beach store,” the kids wrote. “We are very sorry to hear that and very upset that we won’t be able to visit and shop and browse and learn new things. Some of us love your sale items (using math). Some like to study there and also eat there… Please don’t leave us without our favorite store.” As a bonus incentive they added, “P.S. If you come, we will take you to the beach with us and teach you how to surf!”
It worked. Parneros stepped in to facilitate a solution between B&N Daytona Beach and its landlord, extending the lease and giving seventeen third-graders a very merry holiday gift.
Much credit must be given to Belsky, who encouraged her students to step up and speak out about an issue that concerned them. Under her guidance, the kids let go of passivity and took matters into their own hands. What an admirable and necessary skill to learn at a young age and take into the future. As this world continues to burn and citizens are increasingly required to pick up the phone and call their representatives, these kids have a lasting experience of their efforts actually working. Hopefully, they’ll remember and be inspired by it as they get older.
“They just have to try,” Belsky said. “They can make positive change for themselves and their community, and they just have to try.”
No word yet on whether Parneros will be taking the kids up on those surfing lessons, but we hold out hope.
Stephanie DeLuca is the director of publicity at Melville House.