LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, Ind. – The community has come together in unbelievable ways after Amy Beverland Principal Susan Jordan was struck and killed by a school bus three weeks ago. One big way? A total of 10,000 books were donated in her honor to Lawrence Township schools.
Students spent the day Monday sorting through them while we spoke with Jordan’s daughter, Lisa Jankowski. It’s her first time opening up on camera since the loss of her mother.
“We’re surviving,” Jankowski said in regard to her mother’s heartbreaking death. “We’re basically getting out of bed and taking it one day at a time, and trying to live a little bit of the life that my mom tried to give us.”
Kids put stickers on boxes full of books reading “In loving memory of Susan Jordan, beloved principal of Amy Beverland Elementary.”
Jankowski says the book drive would’ve pleased her mother.
“My mom’s favorite books were ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’ and ‘The Giving Tree,’” Jankowski said. “‘The Giving Tree’ – that’s who she was. She gave everything she had to the people she loved. She loved her school children, her grandchildren, and her brothers. And she just gave everything she had to everyone else. That was who she was.”
Jankowski says she hopes the books go to the children who need it most.
“The reason she loved ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’ is because it’s about somebody loving you, and you become real, so she loved that book too,” Jankowski said. “I hope they go into kids’ hands and those kids go into their parents’ laps, because everything we know about reading has shown that it helps kids succeed – so that’s what I hope happens and that’s what she would want, too.”
School leaders say the book drive was an example of the stunning support the community has given after losing Jordan.
“We had no idea we’d received this kind of outpouring from the community,” Director of Curriculum for Lawrence Township schools Troy Knoderer said. “But we’re very grateful for it.”
Those thousands of books will be dispersed to the 21 schools in Lawrence Township. Some will go to school libraries, others into classrooms, and some will be given straight to students.
And just as Jordan’s family say she would have wanted, the books will add to the kids’ education and expand their learning process.