Students bedecked themselves in St. Patrick's Day regalia, teachers came in festive attire and parents stayed warm and dry in Adams Elementary School's multipurpose room Friday as it sprinkled outside.
The students were in for a surprise, but it wasn't the candy they thought they were getting. Instead the Mesa Verde-area school received a leprechaun's pot of gold in the form of nearly $7,500 for new books.
"What that means is [Principal Gabe Del Real] and your fine librarian are going to go to Barnes & Noble and shop till they drop to give you lots of books, so you can read day and night," Charles Mariano, the vice president and manager of City National Bank's Costa Mesa branch told the students during flag deck.
Adams Elementary School was the recipient of two "Reading is the Way Up" grants from City National Bank: a $1,500 literacy grant to buy books for students below reading level and a $2,750 matching donation to buy books for all students.
The donation matches the $3,000 in books collected at the Barnes & Noble in Fashion Island's Holiday Book Drive, which garnered 450 books, said Tiffany Dersam, the bookstore's assistant manager.
"It was so generous, like, oh my gosh," said Alyssa Vandegrift, 11, as the glitter shamrocks attached to her headband bobbed. "Like, oh my gosh, they might as well build a new library since all those books are not going to fit."
The donation allows librarian Deborah Lucas to buy some much-needed new books in between her yearly order.
The donation comes as the whole school has started participating in Accelerated Reader, a program that tests students' reading comprehension while encouraging them to read more.
The program has boosted students' appetites for reading, Lucas said.
"Some of the kids I see every day," she said, adding she needs a larger variety of books to satiate them. "This will just help beef us up."