Citgo and Bess the Book Bus bring the joy of reading to SW La. students

Published 12:37 pm Thursday, May 23, 2024

Special to the American Press

Citgo Petroleum Corporation and mobile literacy program, Bess the Book Bus gifted books to young Southwest Louisiana students during visits to Brenda Hunter Head Start, Oak Park Elementary, E. K. Key Elementary and R. W. Vincent Elementary.

The pre-K through first-grade students were able to visit Bess the Book Bus and choose a book to take home.

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“Bess the Book Bus returns and continues to ignite a passion for reading in our community. This cherished Citgo tradition highlights our firm commitment to encouraging an interest in reading during the early stages of students’ education,” said Sterling Neblett, vice president and general manager of the Lake Charles Manufacturing Complex. “Over the two-day visit, we were able to personally help 525 children pick out their very own book to take home and read with their families.”

Based in Tampa, Fla., Bess the Book Bus was founded by Jennifer Frances in 2002 to help make book ownership a reality for the country’s underserved children.

With the help of Citgo, Bess the Book Bus serves more than 45,000 children and gives away more than 75,000 books in dozens of states across the country each year. In addition to its work with Bess the Book Bus, Citgo supports several educational initiatives throughout Calcasieu Parish, including the Citgo Innovation Academies at E.K. Key Elementary, LeBlanc Middle School and Sulphur High School which offer a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) based curriculum to students from across the region.

Since 1988, Citgo has participated in the Calcasieu Parish School Board’s Partners in Education program and currently serves four schools, including Sulphur High School, Sulphur Ninth Grade Campus, E.K. Key Elementary and Calcasieu Parish Alternative Sites.