Little Library Rededication, Leads to Marquez Kindergarten Reunion

(Editor’s note: Rich Schmitt’s photos are copyrighted and cannot be used without permission. To view other photos of the event contact

The rededication of the Little Library took place on May 13 and included (left to right) Ava Leslie, Kendall Wilken, Kira Valensi, Gabby Abraham and Sophie Davidson and (front row, left to right) Phoebe Appelbaum-Schwartz, Sara Mirtorabi and Sara Steiner.
Photo: Rich Schmitt


Girl Scouts in Fourth Grade when they installed the Little Library.

The year was 2011 when parents Melissa Appelbaum-Schwartz and Jodi Lynne Steiner started Girl Scout Troop 12805.

Twelve years later the Girl Scouts, now seniors on the brink of graduation from high school, gathered on May 13 to rededicate the Little Free Library they had installed as Marquez fourth graders. The little book nook is located at the corner of Jacon Way and Marquez Avenue.

“We built it for our Bronze Award,” said Ava Leslie, who will be attending NYU this fall for recorded music.

When asked whose idea it was for the little library, Sophie Davidson, who is also an Eagle Scout and will be attending the University of Oregon said, “Ours—we wanted to add something to the Marquez community.”

Sara Steiner, who will be attending UCS for business, said, “We knew it would be self-sustaining and it wouldn’t require a lot of maintenance. This is a very community-oriented area, and that people would take care of it.”

Kendall Wilken, who will be attending St. Francis college in Brooklyn, N.Y. for film, said, “My grandpa [Rich Wilken] helped us put in the stake [that anchors the little library].”

Sara Mirtorabi, who will be majoring in chemistry at Moorpark College, said they had repainted it a couple of years ago during the pandemic.

Troop leader Jodi Lynne Steiner said that the troop started at Marquez Elementary in first grade.

Two girls from Palisades Elementary, Audrey Czerniewski and Georgie Thomas, joined after fifth grade.

“These 13 girls have continued through 12th grade,” said Steiner, who sent a photo of the troop when the library was first dedicated and the plaque that the girls added at the rededication on Saturday.

Other members of the troop included Elena Roby, Gabriella Abraham who will be attending Notre Dame for biology, Kira Valensi who plans to attend Northeastern University (Boston) for computer science, Laura Thompson, Phoebe Appelbaum-Schwartz who will go to Carnegie Mellon for visual arts and Samantha Kissane.

After hugs and photos, members of the girls’ Marquez kindergarten class started to show up for a mini-reunion in front of the school.

There were 27 former students who made it to their old school at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

“It looks so small,” said one senior, who peered through the Marquez school gate.

After fifth grade, students attended a variety of public and private schools, so this provided an easy way to reconnect – over doughnuts – provided by Steiner.

Many parents accompanied their high school seniors and had a chance to reconnect with other parents at the elementary school where they had volunteered and spent so much time.

Steiner was asked how she managed to reach so many people, “A lot of e-mail, texts and Facebook,” she said, “and asking everyone to do the same.”

These students, now high school seniors, were members of the kindergarten class at Marquez.
Photo: Rich Schmitt

This entry was posted in Schools. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *