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Leonardo Makes History with New Book-Dispensing Vending Machine

Students, administrators and special guests celebrate Leonardo Elementary School's new book-dispensing vending machine. On Sept. 27, Leonardo Elementary School made history when Principal Peter Smith, PTA President Sandy Lambe and Reading Development Teacher Tara Garzone presented students with a Book-Dispensing Vending Machine, the first of its kind in New Jersey.

“We’re trying to create excitement for our students about reading. In addition to the amazing work of our teachers, this vending machine will serve as another avenue to spark an interest in reading, while also promoting student choice in various genres,” Smith said.

The machine is coin-operated, and students will have opportunities throughout the year to earn tokens that can be traded for top children’s titles that can be taken home and kept.

“We’re hopeful that by providing access to these books, students and families will continue to integrate good reading habits at home,  and increase overall student academic success,” said Garzone.

Leaonardo’s students of the month of September were the first to use the new vending machine, which was funded by the school’s PTA. The stock of books will be replenished through participation in Scholastic book fairs. Leonardo will earn a percentage back on book sales that can then be used to buy new selections for the vending machine.

“I have to give my sincerest thank to the PTA, in particular Cindy Fornicola and Sandy Lambefor not only bringing the idea to us, but also doing the leg work for us, including working with their membership to fund the project. We really appreciate the partnership we have with the PTA and all they do to enrich the lives of our students,” said Smith.

At the introduction ceremony the school was awarded a proclamation by Committeewoman Patricia Snell on behalf of the Middletown Township governing body. The ceremony was also mentioned in News 12 New Jersey's Education Matters segment. See all the highlights from the even below.