Feature Stories

Minnewashta Elementary Partners with Excelsior Rotary to Collect More than 3,000 Books in 5th Annual Book Drive

In late April and early May, families at Minnewashta Elementary collected more than 3,000 new and used books to be distributed to local non-profit partners. The book drive was held in collaboration with the Excelsior Rotary and is the fifth annual event of its type (previous years’ drives took place at Scenic Heights, Clear Springs, Excelsior and Deephaven Elementary). 

Rotary member presents to first graders

The coordinators of the book collection project were Rotarians Linda Gustafson and Tiffany Frazier, working with Assistant Principal Jenny Van Aalsburg and staff at Minnewasta. Dr. Don Draayer, former superintendent of Minnetonka Public Schools and current Excelsior Rotary member, was the founding organizer of the book collection project. 

Minnewashta’s first grade classes took the lead in coordinating the school’s efforts. “The kids were very excited to host a book drive as they are all growing so much in their reading abilities in first grade,” said teacher Joy Gresham. “The idea of donating some of their favorite books to other kids who could enjoy them was very exciting!”

Once books were donated, Rotary members and other community volunteers spent a day at Minnewashta sorting the books by age and grade level. The books will be distributed to Reach Out and Read MN, Way to Grow, the Eastside Learning Center in St. Paul, and Story Orchard Books. 

Minnewashta first graders enjoyed visiting with the Rotary guests during the sorting day. Students sang a song and shared drawings and letters of thanks with the volunteers to express their gratitude for sorting the books that were donated.

Rotary members and students connect during book drive event

“What an amazing job by the Minnewashta students and staff,” shared Gustafson when reflecting on the event. “As a result of all their work and dedication, 87 boxes of books were collected and have now been delivered to our non-profit partners. We want to thank all the students, parents and school staff for this amazing book collection project effort and for teaming up with the Rotary Club of Excelsior.”

In its five year history, the Rotary's book drive has collected and distributed more than 9,500 books. Congratulations to all on this outstanding effort!

Students walk down a hall past a sign that reads "Book Drive"


Girls smiling

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