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Senior project provides ‘Books for Everyone’
By: ANGELA CABEZAS Review Staff firstname.lastname@example.org, Staff Writer
As is the case in all Pennsylvania schools, students at Ephrata High School are required to complete a senior project in order to graduate. Though there are many students who view the project merely as one more assignment to check off their "To Do" list, one soon-to-be graduate is using the requirement as an opportunity to give back.
The project of Ephrata resident Hugh Good, entitled "Books for Everyone," aims to collect enough money to purchase foreign language translations of popular children’s books. The books will then be given to the Ephrata Area School District’s (EASD) four elementary schools for inclusion in their libraries. The hope is that the books will allow foreign language learners to retain their native language while continuing to learn and grow.
"Kids come to the U.S., and they’re put in a school and immediately start learning English," Good said. "They may speak their language at home, but they’re not really developing or continuing to learn in their language. How can a child read in a fifth-grade level in English if they can’t read in a second-grade level in Spanish? To increase their vocabulary, they must continue to read good books and think bigger thoughts."
Good, who is a fifth-year language student taking Advanced Placement Spanish, was inspired to complete Books for Everyone by his mother Pauline, who works as a translator. She accompanies their Colombian friends to doctors’ offices and other appointments, and she also helps translate at parent-teacher conferences in EASD.
"I wanted to carry on what my mom’s doing and help (the students) continue to learn," said Good. "They have to keep learning to read and write to be able to understand more and be more well-rounded."
In addition to purchasing books in Spanish, Good will also buy stories written in Ukrainian, Russian, Armenian, Mandarin Chinese and Hmong, the six languages currently spoken by English as a Second Language (ESL) students in the district’s elementary schools.
In order to raise enough money to stock the school libraries, Good has relied on sending solicitation letters and e-mails to friends and family members as well as selling raffle tickets in the school cafeteria during lunch.
"I’m selling raffle tickets at $1 a piece for four big gift baskets that are in a glass case in the lobby of the high school," he said. "There’s a chocolate lover’s basket; a tea party basket with tea, teacups and a teapot; a soccer basket with shin guards, Gatorade, a soccer ball, etc.; and another basket that has an assortment of candy."
Another part of Good’s graduation project included filming a segment for Ephrata AM, the high school’s morning announcements, to make his classmates aware of the Books for Everyone raffle.
Though each of these components took a significant amount of time, Good considers the most difficult part of the project to be getting in touch with everyone.
"The biggest thing was really reaching out and connecting with whoever could potentially be a donor," he said. "I sent mass e-mails to all our family’s contacts, saying, ‘Hey, this is my cause; if you’d like to donate you can send it to this address.’ I also update everyone weekly, and whenever I have new information I send an e-mail out. It takes a lot of time. The project requires a minimum of 20 hours, but by now I’ve passed that."
Altogether, Good hopes to raise a total of $1,000 by March 30. He will then purchase the books from Amazon.com, where he can find books in good condition for a reasonable price.
"I want to get as many books I possibly can, and other websites I looked at had the books for $20, $22 each, whereas Amazon has some of them for as cheap as $.35," he said.
Good plans to purchase books that he enjoyed as a child, including "If You Give a Moose a Muffin" and stories by well-known author Richard Scarry.
After he graduates, Good will continue honing his language skills in Ecuador, where he will live for nine months.
"My mom was an exchange student there when she was in high school and kept in touch with her host family," he said. "We visited them in 2009, and they wanted me to come back, so I thought I’d take a year off school. I’m going to travel and take a semester of community college there. When I come back I’ll hopefully study international business. I’ve been looking at Pace University in New York."
Anyone who wishes to contribute to Books for Everyone should contact Good at Books4Everyone29@yahoo.com or send checks, made payable to Pauline Good (Memo line: Books for Everyone), to 164 Church Ave., Ephrata, PA 17522. More GOOD, page A16