Anna Middle school students earn $6,500 in supplies

By Joshua Baethge
For the Anna-Melissa Tribune
The Anna Middle School winners are all part of teacher Christian Gober’s 38-student GT group.

Last week, Anna Middle School gifted and talented students found out that they had won the Samson Solve for Tomorrow annual contest for students in grades six through twelve. As part of their accomplishment, they were awarded $6,500 in technology and classroom supplies. They will also advance to the national competition. 

The contest challenges students to solve local issues using science, technology, engineering, arts and math.  Around 100 schools were named state winners.  

The Anna Middle School winners are all part of teacher Christian Gober’s 38-student GT group.  In her class, students are tasked with working on projects that stimulate a greater understanding of the world around them.  A couple of months ago, they took a vote on what type of project they wanted to do.  They chose a community involvement initiative.  

Then they pondered the question of how they could improve the community. That conversation led to a discussion about how reading helps students in many ways.  However, Anna does not have a public library. 

“Students mentioned how they don't always have time to go to the school library, or will need a new book when the school is closed on weekends or holidays,” Gober said. "So, it was decided to do little libraries. The students wanted to put them in the parks where kids would have the most opportunity to use them.” 

Their agreed upon plan was for the students to build the libraries and initially stock them up with good books. Then the community could read them on a “give one, take one” basis. 

All of Gober’s 38 GT students worked on the project. Groups were created according to individual strengths. The social media group worked with Anna ISD Communication and Marketing Specialist Melane Woodbury to solicit donations online.  

The design group used a CAD program to create the mini libraries while the communications gent worked with city and district officials to get their plans approved. Then the build group built, painted, and finished the libraries 

“We found out about the competition and the class decided to try to see if we could win,” Gober says. “The project didn't start because of the competition, but we figured, why not try to see if we could take our idea and not only help our community with the project itself, but also our school.” 

It was the first time anyone in Anna ISD has won the competition. The team won’t know until January exactly what their prize package includes. They will learn after submitting a final video on the project. 

Gober says she would like the community to know that the students worked very hard on the project and are very proud of their accomplishment.  For a time they were nervous about getting enough donations to move forward.  Then Candy and Dennis Blair, as well as the Tsutsumi Family, donated the money they needed to buy supplies.  Jeffrey Gober also helped the kids with building the libraries. Now the team's attention has turned to filling the libraries with books. 

“We are still in a huge need for new or gently used books for 15 and under, especially kids. If there is any way the community can find it in their hearts to help finalize this dream into a reality, and bring book donations to the middle school, we would be so grateful!” Gober says. “We are hoping to get with the city and have them placed in early January.” 

So be on the lookout for new little libraries popping up at Natural Springs Park, Sherley Heritage Park, Slayter Creek Park, Johnson Park, and Grace Place. The team hopes that the community will enjoy reading and learning at them for years to come.