Little Learners ribbon cutting

Gracie Basham of Girl Scout Troop 2163 prepares to cut the ribbon at Tullahoma Head Start for her Gold Award project Launching Little Learners Library.

Gracie Basham of Girl Scout Troop 2163 unveiled her Gold Award project, Launching Little Learners Library at both Tullahoma Day Care Center and Tullahoma Head Start. The project was unveiled during two ribbon cuttings at each day care through the Tullahoma Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Gold Award is earned by approximately six percent of Girl Scouts annually. More than one million Girl Scouts across the country have earned the Gold Award or its equivalent since 1916.

For her project, Basham collected and donated over 900 books for both day cares and spent roughly 90 hours constructing both bookcases, creating labels for the books and logging all the books in a database she created for both centers.

Basham said she chose the project because of her love of reading and because she wanted to contribute in developing a similar love of reading to others.

“I decided that I wanted contribute to two day care centers in my city, and I wanted to give them all the means they needed to develop a love of reading like I have,” Basham said.

The Director of Tullahoma Day Care Center Emma Coleman thanked Basham for the books and said it was important to have the library for the children.

“It’s very important to us because reading is important,” Coleman said. “We appreciate it.”

Basham said she received plenty of help with gathering the books courtesy of her family, friends, the Coffee County Literacy Council and the Tullahoma School Board. She added she sent out fliers to every student at all four elementary schools in Tullahoma and received great feedback from East Lincoln and Jack T. Farrar elementary schools.

“Without those book donations I would have not come anywhere near to 900 books,” Basham said. “I think before their help it was around 450 books so they gave the large majority of book donations.”

She credited her troop leader Greg Gressel for not only helping her throughout the project but for helping to shape her to who she is today.

“I would not have contributed back to my community in the amount I have so far and I would not have done this project without him,” she said. “It was great to have his guidance.”

Basham will be attending Motlow State Community College for two years and transfer to MTSU to earn a degree in early childhood education so she can teach in Tullahoma.

“I want to come back to Tullahoma to teach and implement the love of reading I had to a new generation in Tullahoma,” Basham said.

Troop leader Greg Gressel said he was excited to see Basham receiving the Gold Award for giving back to the community as its part of the fiber of Girl Scouts of America.

“It’s a 105 year-old award and it’s a very prestigious thing,” Gressel said. “I’m just excited to see that Gracie had this opportunity.”

Basham added that it was honor to receive the award as she wants to set an example for the younger girls in her troop and community.

“I think it’s very important to see a woman in this position that is able to give back to her community and help the community,” Basham said. “It honors me that they are watching and they could potentially be where I am at right now.”