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David Harrison Honored at Harrison Elementary School Ribbon Cutting

Local acclaimed children’s author, David Harrison, was honored Wednesday with a ribbon cutting ceremony, to dedicate the new elementary school in his name. KSMU’s Theresa Carter attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony and files this report.

David Harrison elementary school opened its brand-new doors this week and is named for a local author who has published more than 70 children’s books, and who has been a strong advocate of children’s education.

Harrison said that he began writing as a senior in college, but was turned down several times before his first book was published. After several books for grown-ups were published, he gave writing children’s books a try, and has been writing for kids ever since. Harrison’s focus is children and education.

"I think what we need to do with our young people is to teach them how to think, and to give them the confidence to know that they can found out on their own. There is no way we can remember all of the facts taught to us in school. But the essence of education is to know how to do it, and then go do it."

“Sky High on Reading” is just one of the local projects that Harrison started, challenging local Springfield school children to read enough books to equal a 2 mile high stack. Instead the children read enough to stack books 8 miles high.

Kent Brown, editor and chief at Boyd Mills Press, has worked with Harrison for the last 26 of his books. Brown’s grandparents founded the popular “Highlights” children’s magazine in the late 40’s. Brown flew in from Pennsylvania for the opening of Harrison Elementary, and says that he was not at all surprised that Harrison was selected to represent this new school.

"I think it is a wonderful tribute to a person who has been a life-long learner, and continues to be. And who thinks about kids all of the time."

Not many people ever experience such an honor while they are still living. Harrison says he plans to take advantage of this unique opportunity by staying involved with the school and its students. For KSMU news, I’m Theresa Carter.