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Barb Day Held at Collegewood

NEWS                                                                                   Walnut Valley Unified School District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                            880 S. Lemon Avenue
May 29, 2013                                                                      Walnut, CA 91789

Kelli Gile, Office of Community Resources
(909) 595-1261 ext. 31204

Barb Day Held at Collegewood
School Celebrates Retiring Librarian

WALNUT, CA-- Collegewood Elementary students, teachers, and staff members flocked out of their classes precisely at 1:20 p.m. with a surprise for retiring librarian Barbara Morton on May 29.

The Walnut school was celebrating “Barb Day” in honor of their beloved keeper of the books.

Morton has provided 40 years of dedicated service to the Walnut Valley Unified School District and 38 at the Walnut school. 

The school gathered on the upper playground to surprise their librarian with tributes and a surprise song.

“I called her and said she had to come to the office,” Principal Joan Perez said.

“On my way, teacher Lori Huckler grabbed me - and I said I have to go see Joan. And she said ‘no you don’t!’” Morton added.

Huckler led her to the upper playground just as students began the flash mob dance Gotta Keep Reading.

All 654 students in kindergarten through fifth grade were holding books as they paid tribute to their librarian.

“I was completed surprised,” Morton said. The entire school kept the secret all day.

“We had a plan that the students would all come from different places. Some of the students were hiding in the classes adjacent to the playground, Perez said.

“They been practicing and they were all excited,” she said.

“She has read to over 20,000 children,” said Perez as she presented Morton with certificates of recognition and a gold watch on behalf of the District.

The librarian also received special going away books written and illustrated by students from every class on campus. She got lots and lots of hugs too.

“She was the glue that kept this school together,” said Perez.

“She literally instilled the love of literacy in every child that she touched. Every read aloud was cherished by both students and teachers,” she said.

First grade teacher Laura O’Donnell said when she was a new teacher Mrs. Morton made sure she had all the books and materials she needed for her classroom.

“And she supplied a plethora of books for every season and every holiday to read to our students. She’s been a wonderful friend and we have been very spoiled,” she said.

Mrs. Morton also received a handmade quilt from retired Collegewood teacher and friend Vicky Telfer that featured shelves filled with colorful books - each a favorite chosen by every teacher. 

Morton’s three cats Zoe, Harley, and Max were also depicted in the intricately stitched piece.

“It was really sweet of her,” Morton said admiring the beautiful artwork.

Morton recalled that she began her career over four decades ago as a volunteer library chairman at Evergreen Elementary. She said principal (Truman Collins) told her, “Why don’t you go to the District and apply for a job and get paid!”

“I just enjoy working with the kids and having the things for them to do and to want to come to the library. And it’s been fun!” she said.

And what is her favorite memory?

“Today. This is going to be my all time favorite memory. It was such a surprise. And my second favorite was the dedication of this library eleven years ago,” she said.

She said she looks forward to an upcoming family wedding and some traveling as she begins her next chapter.


Collegewood students and staff raised their hands acknowledging that they would miss their librarian after the surprise performance. 

Students brought books and hugs for their beloved librarian.  

The cover of a classroom book given to retiring librarian Barbara Morton. 

Principal Joan Perez presented a special gift and certificates of recognition from the WVUSD, Senator Bob Huff, and Assemblyman Curt Hagman.  

Barbara Morton gave a “thumbs up” signal after she opened a gold watch – a retirement gift from the District during the surprise Barb Day celebration. 

Retiring Collegewood librarian Barbara Morton holding one of her favorite books, Dewey – There’s a Cat in the Library! a true story that she loved sharing with the kids.

Morton admired the handmade quilt that featured the favorite books of Collegewood teachers and her three cats.