Follett Press Releases

Follett and Reading Is Fundamental Drive Literacy, Love of Learning among Chicago Public School Students with Annual Poster and Essay Contest

CHICAGO, Apr 24, 2015 – Westchester-based Follett Corporation along with the Chicago Chapter of Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) continued their mission of inspiring a lifelong interest in reading among Chicago Public School (CPS) students by hosting the annual Follett Essay and Poster Contest. The partners will host nearly 400 CPS students on Friday, April 24, to recognize and celebrate the 15 local student winners who will receive financial awards and a small library of books. The ceremony will be held at Chicago Public Library’s Harold Washington Library Center.

The contest invites students from over 20 elementary, middle and high schools to tap into their imagination and express it through writing or artwork. This year’s theme, “Imagine a Story Character,” gave students an opportunity to play the role of storyteller by creating and portraying a character uniquely their own.

“Reading is the spark that can light the world of imagination and possibility for every child,” said Mary Lee Schneider, president and CEO of Follett Corporation. “This program shines a deserving spotlight on kids across Chicago who demonstrate what imagination and the love for reading and learning is all about.”

Chicago-based Mad Hatters, an interactive storytelling group, will kick-off the award ceremony on Friday with an entertaining show for the children. Chicago Taft High School English teacher and award-winning author Jessie Ann Foley will deliver the keynote.

Foley, along with RIF executive director Evan Georgi and Follett Corporation CEO Mary Lee Schneider will present the awards to the students. The students’ work will also be featured on Follett’s social media channels.

“For ten years, Follett has provided this creative and rewarding opportunity for all children in Chicago Public schools. For many of our students, this day greatly impacts who they believe they can become, and what they are capable of in their futures. When a child is recognized for their creativity, it is inspirational and motivating to the child receiving the award, as well as their classmates,” said Evan Georgi, executive director of Reading is Fundamental in Chicago.

Students were placed in three essay categories: primary, intermediate, upper and high school, representing first- through twelfth- grade students. Poster winners included first- through tenth- grade students.

Essay Winners

  • First-place winners: Fatoumata Dioubate (Alessandro Volta Elementary School), Ethan Knight (George Manierre Elementary School), Het Patel (Alessandro Volta Elementary School), Mauro Ramos (John Hancock College Preparatory High School)
  • Second-place winners: Mikaiyla Easter (Medgar Evers Elementary School), Michael Henkins (Robert Healy Elementary School), Jose Peloez (John Hancock College Preparatory High School), Aureane Cyrene Rouiller (Bernard Moos Elementary School)
  • Third-place winners include: Classie Clayton (George Manierre Elementary School), Chloe Lei (Robert Healy Elementary School), Xochitl Rojas (John Hancock College Preparatory High School), Natalie Soutonglang (Robert Healy Elementary School)

Poster Winners

  • First- through eighth- grade  winners: 1st – Alice Liang (Robert Healy Elementary School), 2nd – Winnie Chui (Robert Healy Elementary School), 3rd – Fatoumata Dioubate (Alessandro Volta Elementary School)
  • High School winner: Xochitl Rojas (John Hancock Preparatory High School)
  • Special Recognition winner: Monecia Jones (Manley Career Academy High School)

The annual contest and partnership between Follett and RIF is more than a decade old, throughout which nearly 200 students have been recognized and 20,000 submissions received.

You can view this year’s winning submissions and learn more about the contest on social medial by following Follett Learning on Facebook, flickr and Twitter. Or, for more information, visit and

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About Follett Corporation |

For more than 140 years, Follett has been a trusted partner to pre-K and K-12 schools, districts, and college campuses, taking care of the critical details that make it easier for schools to run, teachers to teach and students to learn. Every day, Follett serves over half of the students in the United States, and works with 70,000 schools as a leading provider of education technology, services and print and digital content. Follett is higher education's largest campus retailer and a hub for school spirit and community, operating 940 local campus stores and 1,300 virtual stores across the continent. Headquartered in Westchester, Illinois, Follett is a $2.6 billion privately held company.

About Reading Is Fundamental® (RIF) 
Reading Is Fundamental delivers free books and literacy resources to children and families in underserved communities in the United States. By giving children the opportunity to own a book, RIF inspires them to become lifelong readers and achieve their full potential. As the nation’s largest children’s literacy nonprofit, RIF has placed 412 million books in the hands of more than 40 million children since it was established in 1966. To learn more and help provide books to kids who need them most, visit