HEHS Donates, Reads Books to Children at Literacy Academy

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Elementary students at John Muir Literacy Academy were surprised as the Hoffman Estates High School Hawk mascot walked in to classrooms, excitedly waving and promoting literacy while several high school students read books to children. His guest appearance and readings were part of a book drive hosted by HEHS on March 23. More than 1,200 books were donated to the school from faculty and students.

“For our project this year, we were trying to come up with something that would affect the school culture in a very positive way,” said Cynthia Taylor, librarian at HEHS.

Students at John Muir Literacy Academy

The HEHS hawk visited classrooms at John Muir Literacy Academy to encourage children to read. This was part of HEHS's book drive, which allowed the school to donate 1,200 books to John Muir.

The event was started as a project by fourth-year teachers at HEHS in support of Principal Jim Britton’s initiative to promote community literacy, Taylor said. Each student ambassador was individually chosen by fourth-year teachers, and they were assigned to various elementary school classes to read some of the newer donated books.

“We wanted to pick kids we thought would be good representatives of the school,” Taylor said. “We want to send a real positive message, especially with younger kids.”

Promoting the book drive was no problem, according to Taylor. There was a week at the end of January Taylor called the “big push.” Raffles were planned to help raise money for donation. Students could either purchase raffle tickets for $1, or donate a book in good condition.

Four students won gift baskets including an iPod shuffle and iTunes gift card, and three teachers won a basket, which included a Kindle Fire, a gift certificate to Shaw’s Crab House, or a gift certificate to the bowling alley Pinstripes.

The raffles brought in $750 dollars and 1,000 books. Taylor used the funds raised to purchase newly published books to donate. She emphasized HEHS would like to continue a program similar to this in the future.

Boxes of books

Just a small portion of the books donated by HEHS.

“There is definitely a push to keep this sort of activity going,” Taylor said. “Sometimes kids in elementary schools are not able to purchase books, and this way it helps the library because they can get the books that have just been recently published.”