Press Releases

Racine, Wis. Elementary Students Read Their Way to $100,000 School Library Makeover

RACINE, Wis., Oct. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, students, teachers and friends of Wadewitz Elementary School are celebrating the grand opening of the Wadewitz Reads Dream Big Library -- their modernized library -- which students earned by securing first place in the Racine Reads: Dream Big! program. This literacy initiative challenged local elementary school students in Racine, Wis. to read one million books during the 2011-2012 school year – an average of 100 books per child. By reading an extraordinary 423,000 books the 655 students at Wadewitz captured the $100,000 grand prize library makeover, donated by SC Johnson.


"The grand opening of the Wadewitz Reads Dream Big Library serves as a celebration of the efforts and accomplishments of these students as the community works together to ensure their enthusiasm for reading continues to grow throughout their lifetime," said Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO of SC Johnson. "As a family company and long-standing member of the Racine community we are vested in ensuring creative programs like Racine Reads: Dream Big! continue to inspire and teach our children vital life skills, such as literacy."

Features of the updated library focus on ensuring reading and other library activities will continue to be fun and interactive for years to come. New technology such as computers, iPads and e-books will allow for more hands-on learning. Dynamic new desks inspire group work and allow easier access for those students with disabilities. The library decor also celebrates the Racine community with photos of iconic Racine landmarks including, a lighthouse with Carnauba plane flying overhead, Monument Square and North Beach.

"Last school year, we challenged the students of Wadewitz to read more as part of the Racine Reads: Dream Big! program," said Chad Chapin, Wadewitz Elementary School Principal. "Now because of the determination and hard work of our amazing students, literacy at this school will be improved for years to come. I could not be more proud of our achievements."

Racine Reads: Dream Big! was developed for the 2011/2012 school year as a holistic approach to literacy advancement. Children in the community were surrounded by reading in all aspects of their lives, from the classroom where teachers and principals were given program tool kits, to the community as a whole through author visits, live performances and readings and volunteer opportunities. To motivate and celebrate milestones, students were given rewards, like pizza parties, throughout the program. 

The program reached more than 10,000 elementary school students in nearly 500 public, private and parochial classrooms across Racine. The Racine Reads: Dream Big! program is sponsored by SC Johnson and is a partnership with the Racine Public Library along with the City of Racine, Racine Elementary Schools, the Racine Civic Centre, Racine Literacy Council, Family Literacy of Racine, Cops 'N Kids, and Girls Inc.

For more information on Racine Reads: Dream Big! visit or the program's Facebook page.

The mission of the Racine Public Library Foundation is to support the future well-being of the Racine Public Library. The Foundation has a long-term vision of creating an endowment that will generate sufficient income to support library projects and services. The purpose of the Racine Public Library Foundation is to make citizens aware of how to donate funds and make bequests. The Foundation also may apply for grants.

About SC Johnson
SC Johnson is a family-owned and managed business dedicated to innovative, high-quality products, excellence in the workplace and a long-term commitment to the environment and the communities in which it operates. Based in the USA, the company is one of the world's leading manufacturers of household cleaning products and products for home storage, air care, pest control and shoe care. It markets such well-known brands as GLADE®, KIWI®, OFF!®, PLEDGE®, RAID®, SCRUBBING BUBBLES®, SHOUT®, WINDEX® and ZIPLOC® in the U.S. and beyond, with brands marketed outside the U.S. including AUTAN®, TANA®, BAMA®, BAYGON®, BRISE®, KABIKILLER®, KLEAR®, MR. MUSCLE®, and RIDSECT®. The 126-year-old company, that generates $9 billion in sales, employs nearly 13,000 people globally and sells products in virtually every country around the world.

Located in Southeastern Wisconsin on Lake Michigan and along the Root River, Racine lies right in the heart of the Chicago-Milwaukee corridor.  Founded in 1834 and incorporated fourteen years later, Racine acted as an important hub for industrial growth for decades. The City is home to approximately 80,000 residents, making it the 5th largest city in Wisconsin. Our community is as diverse as our story, with companies like SC Johnson, Twin Disc and Modine, Racine has a deep history in the business and manufacturing community.  Racine is also the home of many buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, sculptures by Carl Milles and the Racine Art Museum (RAM), which has one of the most significant collections of contemporary craft in North America.  Our beach is one of the best in the world and is continuously recognized for the work done and the quality of our water.  Most recently the US Conference of Mayors recognized Racine as having the best drinking water in the country.

The primary objective of Cops 'N Kids is to improve the reading skills of at-risk children by introducing them to the adventure and creativity that is received from reading. The center is intended to assist children in their exploration while guiding them toward reading skills development and subsequently how to apply the acquired skills to other academic and personal pursuits.

Family Literacy of Racine is a social service/education non-profit providing multiple programs/services for City of Racine families. Its mission is: "Investing in Family and Community: Read, Lead, Learn, Succeed!" Its family literacy program provides English as a 2nd Language classes, Pre-GED, and GED classes for adults; afterschool programming for children 6-14, and a preschool for children 0-6.  Through the Family Smart/Kid Friendly Collaboration, home visitation/parenting education are available to at-risk families, as well as parent education classes to high risk families.  A third program, Girls Inc., provides empowerment classes to girls 6-18 years old, through afterschool programming at 5 RUSD grade schools and 2 middle schools.  Family Literacy's goal is to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty through comprehensive, integrated family education services.

Girls Incorporated is a national non-profit youth organization dedicated to inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. With roots dating to 1864, Girls Inc. has provided vital educational programs to millions of American girls, particularly those in high-risk, under-served areas. Today, innovative programs help girls confront subtle societal messages about their value and potential, and prepare them to lead successful, independent, and fulfilling lives.

The Racine Literacy Council is a volunteer-based organization that provides adult literacy programs in Racine County and works to bring awareness to the community about the importance and impact of literacy. Their primary focus is working with adults who want to learn English as a second language and/or to improve literacy skills.

With approximately 21,000 students, Racine Unified School District (RUSD) is the fourth largest school district in the state of Wisconsin. RUSD has 21 elementary schools including three magnet elementary schools, seven middle schools including two magnet and one charter middle school, and six high schools including one magnet and one charter high school. RUSD provides students rigorous academics and strong programming in the fine arts, foreign language, school-to-career, physical education, technology and other electives. The District also offers virtual learning opportunities for middle and high school students. The District is proud of the success that it creates for all of the students they serve, and proud of its mission to educate every student to succeed.

Jam Stewart