Lindsay Baronoskie – Guest Contributor
Jan 7 2015
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In its 33rd year, the RISD Council of PTAs’ Used Book Fair promises to be better than ever while continuing to raise money for a variety of programs in the district.

A majority of the money raised is allocated for the Council of PTAs’ Scholarship in memory of Dr. J.J. Pearce, named in honor of Dr. Joseph J. Pearce who served as RISD Superintendent from 1946 to 1977.

He was so dedicated to RISD that when he passed away in 1995, the Council of PTAs created the scholarship in his honor and awards these funds to RISD graduating seniors and teachers.

For over 3 decades, a multitude of volunteers have worked hard to make this event happen, bringing in the needed money for the scholarships.

On the other side of the money raised, the scholarship recipients encompass a variety of personalities and backgrounds, but all possess exemplary character and scholastic records. 
                                                                                                                                                                                    If you don’t know any past recipients, we’d like to introduce you to a couple! We sat down with Alisa Bettega, a RISD teacher who was awarded one of the scholarships last year, and Lauren West, now a Lake Highlands High School graduate.

Alisa found out about the scholarship from a poster hanging in the teacher’s lounge at her school with information on how and where to apply. Alisa jumped at the opportunity! 

“I am currently in Graduate School to receive my degree in Educational Administration and the scholarship went toward my tuition for the spring semester,” Alisa explained. “I currently have my daughter in fulltime daycare, and my husband and I have another one on the way. Having the scholarship to help cover some of my tuition was so beneficial to my family as we try to save and plan of our future.”

Lauren West, now a student at the University of Texas, found out about the scholarship in the counselor’s office at her high school. “They always had several scholarship folders available to students, so I happened to pick one up for this scholarship, and then after discussing with my mom, I decided to apply.”

“It was funny because I had been donating books to the Used Book Fair for a while and never realized what a huge impact donating these books had in providing such an amazing opportunity for college students,” Lauren commented.

Alisa’s and Lauren’s experiences are only a couple of the many that have been made possible by the Council of PTAs’ Scholarship in memory of Dr. J.J. Pearce. Imagine how many opportunities the fund has given to students and teachers over the last 32 years?!

The success of the book fair is completely dependent on the donations of books from RISD schools, PTA and community volunteers, and families with most of the 55 elementary, junior and high schools in the district participating each year.

With over 80,000 books collected each year, at least 500 or more volunteers are needed to keep the event running efficiently.

Thanks to all the donations, shoppers, and many volunteers, each year the fair raises between $25,000 and $35,000.

So head on our to the RISD Council of PTAs’ Used Book Fair and help support more people like Alisa Bettega and Lauren West!

This year's book fair will be held at the Dal-Rich Shopping Center at the southeast corner of Beltline and Coit.

The event is scheduled for Thursday, February 12th - Saturday, February, 15th from 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, February 15th from 12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

For questions, email Meredyth Childress at . To keep up with the Council of PTAs events, visit their website at or “Like” their Facebook page at