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Calistoga Elementary School welcomes Inchy the Bookworm vending machine

Calistoga Elementary School welcomes Inchy the Bookworm vending machine

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Inchy the Bookworm vending machine is finally here.

Since its arrival, Calistoga Elementary School students have been eagerly awaiting the moment they will get to put a golden coin in the slot and receive a new book to read.

That moment came on Friday, when Emily Peña cut the ribbon on the new book dispenser. She and fellow 6th-grader Vanessa Cortez deposited coins, and a book of their choosing dropped into the bin.

“Students have been pressing their hands and faces to the machine all week,” said school librarian Lisa Morgan.

Students will earn gold coins by displaying a positive character trait. A Student of the Week in each grade will be given a gold coin to choose any book they wish.

The whole idea started two years ago, when 5th-grade teacher Marc Morita heard about a school in Sonoma that purchased the vending machine. At the time, the Calistoga Elementary School Student Council was looking at new ways to reward students for academic and behavior achievements. Both Peña and Cortez are on the student council.

“A new book from a vending machine seemed like a terrific idea,” Morita said.

Inchy cost about $5,000, however, so the student council reached out to the Calistoga Rotary, Soropitimist International Calistoga and Calistoga Education Foundation to see if they would like to contribute.

Rotary was so impressed with the council’s presentation, they decided to fund the entire purchase of the machine. Soroptimist and the CEF will generously purchase books to keep Inchy stocked over the next five years.

The books are age-appropriate for all students, K-6. “We’ll have to see which books turn out to be popular,” said Trudy Bouligny, Soroptimist and volunteer coordinator for the Read Aloud Partners Program.

At the ribbon cutting Morita expressed his gratitude. “The support from these community organizations is truly remarkable I and I want to thank everybody for your contributions,” he said, also thanking school administrators “who encourage all of these insane, crazy new ideas.”

You can reach Cynthia Sweeney at 942-4035 or csweeney@weeklycalistogan.com.

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