Brownsville school gets 'popped' by 2,000 books


Some $30,000 in books — that’s 2,000 volumes — were just dropped on librarian Wendy Kraft of Brownsville Elementary School.

It was a little painful — but she didn’t mind.

At the recent Wednesday, Oct. 9, regular meeting of the CK School Board, Kraft formally presented word of the donation received from Coca-Cola.

“It is an almost unbelievable donation for our school,” she said. “An incredible thing.”

The history of the donation is interestingly convoluted: Philip Wetherby, a sixth-grade teacher at Brownsville, has a sister in upstate New York, Claudia Wetherby, who just happens to also be a school librarian. His sister recently filled out a Coca-Cola contest form at her local Wal-Mart for the books.

She won.

Then she found out her school district had a major contract with Pepsi, said her brother, and she was not permitted by her district to accept the prize.

So she called Coke and convinced them to give the prize to her brother’s school — Brownsville Elementary.

Suddenly, boxes and boxes of books began appearing at Brownsville, Kraft said.

“I spent many days this summer sorting through them,” she said, and making space on library shelves. “the collection includes fiction, non-fiction and reference books (at) all elementary-reading levels ... it’s not junk.”

And there’s more.

A check for an additional $4,300 for additional shelving will be presented at 2 p.m. Oct. 18, at the school by Coca-Cola officials.

At the same time, Coca-Cola will treat students to a show put on by the Point Defiance Zoo.

“As I understand this, they will bring over their bird collection,” said Kraft. “This will be followed by pizza and juice for all students and staff,” then transportation to a screening of a “Harry Potter movie” at a local theater. “Added to all this are (back-to-school) supplies for each student,” she said.

Kraft was a bit out of breath after listing it all.

Coca-Cola often contributes to schools, no strings attached, according to Noel Estrada, marketing services manager for Coca-Cola offices in Bellevue. The gift to Brownsville is one of 10 such packages to schools each year, he said.

The company also contracts with districts to carry their products.

“We mostly contract directly with the district,” he said. “But occasionally with student organizations.”

Jeanie Schulze, a spokeswoman for CKSD, said the district here has a policy of not contracting with soda manufacturers. However, Coke and Pepsi machines are on all three high school campuses — contracted separately through the respective Associated Student Bodies.

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