Generosity . . . Changes Reading Opportunities at Au Gres-Sims High School

Thanks to the generosity of Catherine and John Maser and the endowed fund they established at Bay Area Community Foundation, students at Au Gres-Sims High School were able to help choose books they were interested in for classroom libraries. Now, students have easy access to digital and print books and magazines directly related to what they are learning in the classroom.

Luke Freeman, a physics teacher at the high school, said that when his students were learning about the development of alternating current electricity, they had a conversation about why Elon Musk may have called his company Tesla. “I then reached for the biography and autobiography Nikola Tesla from my new classroom library and said, ‘He named the company after this guy,’” said Freeman. “It was a powerful moment of discovery and realization. I followed up and said, ‘You can borrow these books and read all about him.’”

Teachers had many more stories about how they are seeing their students engaging more in reading thanks to these mini libraries available in almost every classroom. Because the students had a hand in selecting the materials, they are engaged and have easy access to more learning.

Funding for this project was made possible by the Catherine and John Maser Au Gres Library Fund at Bay Area Community Foundation. Longtime residents of Au Gres, Catherine and John Maser owned and operated the Au Gres Telephone Company, providing service in Au Gres and Omer. Catherine was in charge of the switchboard and bookkeeping, and John was the “telephone man.” They were entrepreneurs who built their business to over 1,000 customers before selling it in 1978. Both were active in their community and their church. It is thanks to the generosity of this couple and those like them that we are able to make great things happen in our Bay Area.


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