Students, teachers, and local officials were on hand Monday morning, Oct. 22, to take part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of the new Ben Carson Reading Room in West Side Elementary School’s media center.

In addition to several school officials and community leaders, Dr. Ben Carson’s wife Candy was in attendance to join the celebration.

The Ben Carson Reading Project is an initiative of the Carson Scholars Fund that provides funding for schools to create a literacy-enriched environment for children to develop their reading skills. The cozy, nurturing setting promotes the importance of everyday leisure reading.

West Side Elementary School music teacher and current Ringgold City Councilman Kelly Bomar says the room is a great addition to the school.

“Being able to benefit from this donation by the Holland Family Foundation and the Carson Scholars Fund is such a huge benefit for the whole West Side community,” Bomar said. “By having a space set aside to promote reading, the Ben Carson Reading Room is the perfect place for kids to develop a love and habit of life long reading.”

There are currently over 180 Ben Carson Reading Rooms nationwide in 23 states and Washington, D.C. With the addition of West Side and Tiger Creek, Catoosa County is now home to three reading rooms, the other being at Cloud Springs Elementary.

Tiger Creek Elementary in Ringgold had a similar ceremony Monday morning to recognize its room.

The camp is sponsored through a generous donation from the Holland Family Foundation and facilitated/managed by the Carson Scholars Fund.

Adam Cook is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He has been a reporter since 2009. He can be reached at The Catoosa County News office at 706-935-2621 and by email at

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