PARKVILLE, Md. - All is quiet in the newly dedicated Dr. Ben Carson Reading Room at Halstead Academy in Parkville. Students are taking time out of the classroom to find new adventures and meet imaginary friends in a book.
Solomon Matthews loves to read. It's a type of escape for him.
"It's a very inspiring place to read because of how he learned from reading and how he came from the bottom of his class to the top of his class. It's a calming place to read with no distractions," said Solomon, fifth grader at Halstead Academy.
Dr. Ben Carson grew up in a single family home with poverty, poor grades and low self esteem. Hard work and perseverance allowed Dr. Carson to become a full professor of Neurosurgery, Oncology, Plastic Surgery and Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
Students at Halstead Academy have read about his story in the book Gifted Hands. It's a story of struggle and determination that many students understand.
"Dr. Ben Carson is an inspiration to our students because of where he came from and the life that he had. Our students learned about Dr. Ben Carson over the summer and they read Gifted Hands. They became Dr. Ben Carson experts so they understand the importance of reading and where that helps you get ultimately in your life," said Jennifer Mullenax, Principal Halstead Academy.
The Carson Scholars Fund pays for the Reading Room. Halstead Academy is a magnet School for Arts and Sciences.
The school is improving and making gains in academics. The Reading Room is one more way to help students academically. It encourages students to reach for the stars.
"After reading Gifted Hands, it was very inspirational. I think if you read, you can accomplish anything that you set your mind too," said Solomon.
The Ben Carson Foundation works with schools to provide special learning environments for students. Reading Rooms are also open at Villa Cresta Elementary, Wellwood International, Norwood Elementary, Jacksonville Elementary and Pikesville Middle School.