UST Alumna Extends Classroom Traditions into a Book
By Brittani Wright
University of St. Thomas’ alumna and Principal of St. Rose of Lima Catholic School, Bernadette Drabek ’05 MEd ’13, recently published a children’s book, “If the Moon”.
What started out as a trick to get kids to eat their lunch, turned into an interactive school tradition and now a book.
“I was a teacher,” Drabek said, “in Pre-Kindergarten years before I became principal at St. Rose of Lima Catholic School. It was always a challenge to get four year olds to eat their lunch in the cafeteria while I was on lunch duty. One day, I came up with a silly saying, ‘If the moon was made out of _____, would you eat it?’ The students would laugh and to my surprise, eat their lunch.”
Drabek reads the book to the students of St. Rose, while they create a writing or art piece that is presented to the other students. It is an extension of what Drabek has done for the past 10 years in the classroom.
The watercolor illustration in the children’s book was created by Jonathan Jones ‘15, UST graduate and first-grade teacher’s aide at St. Rose. This was an easy decision for Drabek given that she wanted to use someone local, and they share the same alma mater.
Releasing a Book
The book that released in June is available on multiple online platforms such as Amazon and MascotBooks.com. Drabek hosted a private event for St. Rose of Lima Catholic School for the unofficial release, and numerous events through Kidventure over the summer. Drabek’s goal is to reach a sale of 1,000 books by 2020; she has sold over 500 so far.
“The passion for writing has always been a part of me since I was a young girl,” Drabek said. “I loved to make up stories and have unusual twist at the end. I would never classify myself as a great student but I could always pull out an “A” on any writing assignment.”
Drabek didn’t necessarily dream of writing children’s books, but this one came to life as part of a fundraising idea.
Writing for a Cause
“My first book signing,” Drabek said, “was at St. Rose of Lima Catholic School before the book was released. I offered author signature (cost $3.00) and 15 percent of the sales to be returned to the school for their new building. We raised almost a $1,000 at the first event.”
Drabek’s motivation came from the need to raise money for a new education building to expand St. Rose. The school is out of space and will need to add classrooms to accommodate all the students moving up into their middle school.
“I tell aspiring authors to go for your dream,” Drabek said. “Realize there is a lot of work ahead to be a successful writer. I must keep working at my craft even if I have a full-time job if I want to go from good to great.”
Drabek plans to write at least 10 more books. Her goal is to write about family dynamics and dealing with the loss of a child.