The selected classics at Aiken High School include “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Brave New World,” along with 21st century best-sellers “The Hunger Games” and “Life of Pi.”
Aiken High School English teachers have chosen 11 books, seeking additional copies to supplement those “that are wearing out pretty quickly,” said teacher Francesca Pataro.
Funds are limited, and the school's Parent-Teacher-Student Organization, known more commonly as the PTSO, is partnering with Books-A-Million to support the initiative.
The store, located at the Aiken Mall, will offer patrons the opportunity to purchase any of the books as a donation. The store will retain the books, which will be collected by the PTSO and the English teachers.
“The books are in front of the store, and people can donate as many as they want,” said Gwen Mulligan, the mother of Cassidy, a sophomore. “Books-A-Million has been very nice about it, and we would appreciate the public's help to get these books for the classrooms.”
The store does a lot of book drives to help the community, said Aubrey Hanna, a customer service staff member. In May, Books-A-Million will provide an additional opportunity. That month, the store will designate a register on a Saturday. Employees will direct customers to that register. For all the sales of any books at that register, the store will donate 10 percent to the high school, Hanna said.
The selected books offer a lot, said AHS sophomore Daniella Smith – not only for the content, but for the writing techniques used by the authors.
The other books include “Fahrenheit 451,” “The Great Gatsby,” “A Farewell to Arms,” “Great Expectations,” “Of Mice and Men,” “Animal Farm” and the Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Death of a Salesman.”
The combined efforts of Books-A-Million and the PTSO have been generous, said Pataro, a PTSO member.
“The classics are timeless and reflect the human experience,” she said. “They are important to our history, and we teach them again and again. We have great discussions about the bigger issues in life, using the books as a starting point.”
Senior writer Rob Novit is the Aiken Standard's education reporter and has been with the newspaper since September 2001. He is a native of Walterboro and majored in journalism at the University of Georgia.