North Farmington High senior Alyssa Peek has made a lasting impact on a Farmington Schools elementary media center, with a project she completed last month.
Peek hosted a September 24 ribbon-cutting ceremony for Kenbrook Elementary School’s new Diversity and Social Justice library. She started the collection with a $250 Farmington/Farmington Hills Optimist Club Leadership Award.
The club typically honors juniors in the spring, providing the stipend for a project within their school community. Honorees then return to a club meeting to talk about what they did with the funds.
Peek said initiatives that formed during her Warner Middle School days sparked her interest in diversity and social justice.
“Being a biracial student, I had some sort of responsibility, and I knew of my responsibility, to educate kids, and even staff as well, in Farmington Public Schools on diversity and inclusion,” she said.
Knowing that the award stipend wouldn’t stretch far enough, Peek created an Amazon Wish List and solicited donations from family and friends. The response blew her away.
“People were more generous than I ever thought they were going to be to begin with,” Peek said. “I knew people were going to donate, but not in the large amounts of books and support that they did.”
Family members, friends, and even former and current teachers contributed. Peek ended up with more than 250 books, posters, and puzzles about racial injustice, equality, diversity, the importance of civic engagement, and climate change.
The library’s total value is more than $4,500.
“This project is really important to me because when I was younger, I did not see myself, my family, or other races or ethnic groups represented in books,” Peek said. “Now, there are so many more books available.”
Peek credits assistant superintendent of diversity, equity, and inclusion Dr. Bobbie Goodrum, North Farmington principal Joe Greene and assistant principal Tonya Corbitt, Kenbrook principal Dr. Julie Kaminski and media aide Amy Simpson, with supporting her project.
While she’s headed off to college next fall, Peek hopes her project inspires other schools to follow suit. Her Kenbrook wish list is still live, and contributions go directly to the school. She’s also making sure that her college experience includes her interest in diversity.
“When I did different college visits, I wanted to know what the schools had, and where their heads were at in this process,” she said. “A lot of them had very specific answers and great ideas, and I’m looking forward to be able to continue that in a new community.”