A packed library and a bunch of new books for the “kiddos” … Dana Eaves would have loved this!
The Sherburne-Earlville Elementary School Library always was a special place for Dana, but on Friday morning, it became a special place because of her.
SECSD faculty and staff spent part of their professional development day lining the library aisles for the unveiling of the “The Dana Eaves Book Project,” a unique book collection in memory of the beloved SEES Kindergarten teacher who unexpectedly passed away in January 2022.
“Dana loved her kids … and she loved being here every day,” said former SEES Principal John Douchinsky, Dana’s building administrator during the early years of her lengthy teaching career. “She put her heart and soul into her classroom, her students and her instruction. We were very fortunate to have had her here with us.
“It's very appropriate that this collection is dedicated in her honor,” he continued. “Just as she was a part of the school when she was here, she will always remain part of our school community through this collection.”
Dana’s family collaborated with the Sherburne-Earlville Teachers’ Association, the District and community members to select books that would inspire Kindergarten students to be lifelong readers.
“This book collection is a wonderful addition to the library,” former SECSD Superintendent Gayle Hellert said. “It celebrates not only Dana's professional career of over 20 years, but what she means to Sherburne-Earlville.”
Dana’s mother and father were among Friday’s special guests, as were several others who were close to Dana. One in particular was SEES Special Education Teacher Kathryn Barth, who spoke fondly of her good friend.
“Dana was one of the kindest people … so giving and loving. She was so generous and had a kind heart,” she said. “Dana taught me to find joy every day – even if it was a cheese dog in the cafeteria. She found joy every day, and that's very important.”
Printed flyers for the event – which featured a video tribute and lots of cookies (Dana’s favorite treat) – read as follows: “Dana Eaves was a beautiful, vibrant young woman who was full of life and love. She lost her life much too soon in January 2022. Dana was a much-loved family member, teacher, and friend. She loved teaching her kindergarten ‘kiddos’ and was especially dedicated to childhood literacy, always striving to ensure her young students developed a love for books and reading.
“To honor Dana and to keep her memory alive, a children’s book collection has been created in her name. Built through generous donations from community near and far, the collection will enrich the reading lives of children at Sherburne-Earlville Elementary School for years to come. Each book in the collection carries this dedication: “Book Collection Inspired by Dana Eaves To Promote the Love of Reading for all ‘Kiddos’.”