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Living the Legacy: Jaden Perry

Posted at 4:44 PM, Feb 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-21 19:00:52-05

“I used my voice and something actually happened.”

Jaden Perry tells FOX 4 that is the biggest lesson he learned from helping his school library get some new books.

“Just because you’re a kid, doesn’t mean you can’t change things.”

Change is exactly what Jaden’s brought to Treeline Elementary School in Fort Myers.

As a 4th grader who loves and excels in reading, Jaden says he once enjoyed going to the school’s media center to checkout books.

But, he started to become uninterested in the school’s book selection.

Jaden’s a future veterinarian, and he says he wanted to see more books that were less fiction.

“There were more mystery and magic books than like educational.”

He shared his concerns with his parents, and his mom, Tasheekia Perry, says they challenged him.

“He had to figure out some very productive options to get the job done.”

Jaden says he knew other students felt the same way.

“That’s when I had the idea to write the letter.”

The 4th grader wrote a letter to his school principal, detailing his experience in the media center and asking for an expansion in genres.

After receiving the letter, Jennifer Wilcken says she was impressed.

Then, she was motivated.

Less than 48 hours later, she reached out to Tasheekia.

Wilcken says the school worked with a publishing company to complete an analysis on its library. The goal was to learn just how to improve it, while helping students to meet Accelerated Reading goals.

But sometimes, change is not cheap.

The entire project cost about $4,500.

With the help and support of the school’s parent teacher organization, the school was able to gather the funds needed.

A few weeks ago, new books landed on the shelves.

Mrs. Wilcken says the students’ reaction was unforgettable.

“We had kids skipping down the hallway. They were so excited!”

For Tasheekia, Jaden’s mission is a reminder to listen to children.

“When something bothers them, don’t look at it as if they’re complaining. Put them in a position to do something about it,” she tells FOX 4.

For Jaden, he says this was an accomplishment.

“I feel like I actually did something important.”