Belkis Escribano Klau is a very special member of the Robinson School family. She was a true advocate of our school and its service to children, both as a parent and volunteer. Her spirit of collaboration and passion for education were remarkable. It was an honor to have a person like Belkis in our community. We love her dearly and her memory will always live on at Robinson School.
The Klau family has been a Robinson family for two generations. Her husband, David Klau, graduated in 1982; her sister-in-law, Cynthia, in 1984. Her sons, Samuel and Jaime Klau Escribano, graduated in 2013 and 2015, respectively. Above all, Belkis recognized the importance of education for her own (and all) children, especially preserving and promoting Puerto Rican heritage and Spanish as valuable assets. She was devoted and attentive, and she shared those traits with Robinson through hours of service over the years—reading to younger students and discussing teaching strategies with faculty—as she pursued her own goal of becoming a teacher.
Belkis Escribano Klau continues to make her mark on Robinson. After her passing in 2014, the Klau family honored her memory by donating a collection of Puerto Rican and Hispanic literature in her memory. Since January 2015, the Elementary School Library has been acquiring and cataloguing books related to children’s Puerto Rican literature, history, arts and science for the “Belkis Escribano Klau Puerto Rican Collection” (or “Colección Puertorriqueña Belkis Escribano Klau,” in Spanish). The Klau family used grief to do something amazing, a lesson that teaches us all. But, the project couldn’t end there.
The project grew to include a complete remodeling of the Elementary School Library, which was in dire need of renovation, a Reading Room to house the Puerto Rican and Hispanic literature collection, and a Faculty Library and Work Room.
The Library was expanded and renovated to create a more open and inviting space for students read, study and learn. Energy-efficient lighting, a new air-conditioning system, and windows were also installed as part of our larger project to make Robinson a green, eco-friendly school.
The Reading Room, which houses the children’s Puerto Rican and Hispanic literature collection, inspires a love of reading by giving students a quiet place to reflect, sit with a book, and read to themselves or each other.
The Faculty Library and Work Room gives our faculty the space and resources to collaborate on ways to best synthesize International Baccalaureate (IB) principles and our current curriculum, as they prepare Robinson to become San Juan’s first International Baccalaureate (IB) world school. [For more, click here].
The Belkis Escribano Klau Memorial Library was officially inaugurated during a dedication ceremony held in the Kresge Chapel on May 22, 2015. The Chapel was filled with Robinson friends from the entire Robinson community, including friends of the Klau family who traveled to Puerto Rico for the event, alumni, and teachers, among others. Everyone gathered to celebrate Belkis’ life and her continued influence on Robinson School. (For more, see sidebar.)
We feel extraordinarily blessed that the library was open and ready for students to use at the start of the 2015-2016 school year. See the sidebar for just a few of the activities our students have enjoyed in the library so far. We want to take this opportunity to show you what Robinson has achieved through such generous support and thank everyone who has participated in this projects’ success, especially the Klau family, their friends and our librarian, Patricia Vega. As you can see, Robinson students and teachers are already making excellent use of the new facilities!
Click on this booklet to see the progress that’s been made in such a short time. The library has been transformed into a vibrant space. Every day, students cultivate a true love of reading through dynamic and engaging activities. Please enjoy the thoughtful words and drawings of gratitude from students who love their new library.
Still, we need your help to put the finishing touches on this project in honor of Belkis and her continued influence on Robinson School. With this second phase, we hope to achieve the following:
Faculty Library and Work Room – Install more energy-efficient lighting and new shelving. Belkis spent hours in classrooms and offices, talking with Robinson teachers and administrators and discussing teaching and learning strategies. The Faculty Library and Work Room provides the ideal space for these types of conversation.
Library Foyer – Design and paint an original mural of a flamboyán tree leading to the Belkis Escribano Klau Reading Room. Belkis often referred to the “tree of life,” an image that invokes how rooted knowledge grows, branches out and bears fruit. This mural will pay tribute to that idea and lead to the sanctuary of the Reading Room.
Belkis Escribano Klau Reading Room – Design and paint a mural of the sky with floating, almost transparent clouds to represent the walls that fall away and the worlds that open up through reading. Light blue is proven to have a calming effect that encourages creativity.
A stained glass window will also be installed in the Reading Room to illuminate the space with colorful, yet softened natural light. Inspired by the bookplate designed for donations received in memory of Belkis Escribano Klau, this window will preserve Belkis’ nurturing presence over the children as they use the space to read and reflect.
Belkis’ commitment and passion drove her to reach out to those in need, looking for ways to provide economically disadvantaged children with new opportunities for receiving quality education. She wanted to make a difference in the lives of not just her children, but in the lives of all children. Her legacy will live on through each child who enters The Belkis Klau Escribano Elementary School Library with a book in their hands, ready to read.
Belkis expressed her gratitude to Robinson, but actually Robinson has learned just as much from her, her family and their generosity. Naming our library after her will always remind us of a woman who passionately pursued an ideal: the importance of reading and writing in the lives of children and giving our children the best!
Don’t miss the chance to join and contribute to this meaningful project!
We invite and encourage you to honor the life and work of this extraordinary woman by donating what you can. Your donation is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law on either Puerto Rico or Federal tax returns.
For more information and to make a donation, please contact Rebecca Sumner, Director of Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 787-999-4604, ext. 4646.