By Megan Miller, Editor
TRUSSVILLE – HTMS student Ella Grace Young has turned her love of reading into a service project that has touched lives locally as well as internationally.
Young is a member of the GaTE Enrichment program at HTMS, where each student has the opportunity to create individual or small group projects.
“Some projects are simply research projects, through which they learn about one of their interests,” GaTE teacher Darrell Stovall said. “Some are artistic endeavors, where students explore a creative field such as music, fashion, art or dance, and they create something.”
Others, like Young’s project, called “Books for a Better Cause,” are what Stovall calls Type III Enrichment projects.
“By definition, these projects require a real-life solution to a real problem, for an actual audience,” Stovall said.
Books for a Better Cause will benefit students attending the Honors Academy in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, an extension of Zion Ministries. The Honors Academy is a bicultural Christian school, which is working to equip the children of Honduras with strong academics, bilingual education and character training.
The idea came to Young last year, and she said she was unsure of how to get the project off the ground, until she was able to channel it into a class project this year.
“First we have this special plan in our class that we have to fill out, that says what kind of project I’m doing, and I had to make a list of all the things I needed to get done,” Young said. “I also had to make a list of the supplies I would need, the things I’d need to collect and buy like books, boxes, paper, markers, things like that.”
The most difficult part, Young said, was getting the word out about the project, but after collecting over 800 books, it was easy to take pride in a job well done.
“My favorite part has been being able to collect all of the different books and seeing how many we can get in total,” Young said. “Right now we have 828 books, and the fact that I’ve been able to collect that many has been mind blowing.”
Young just wrapped up a book drive at HTMS, and she’s continuing to raise money online through a You Caring site so she can also purchase books in Spanish.
“My contact at the Honors Academy said she wanted to make sure she got English and Spanish books,” Young said.
Young has raised $350 of her $250 goal online, and is continuing to raise more funds.
The next step will be packaging and shipping the books.
“My parents and I will have to figure out how to cover the expenses of shipping the books,” Young said.
“Ella Grace’s enrichment project has been one of the most impressive so far this year because of her precocious organizational skills, as well as the unusually high response she’s had from the school community and online support,” Stovall said.