Northeast Tarrant

April 15, 2014

Keller-based student group collects more than 6,500 books for West schools

The Lone Star Youth Leadership Council is made up of 29 members who develop skills through service projects in their communities.

Almost a year after the fertilizer plant explosion in West, members of the Keller-based Education in Action’s Lone Star Youth Leadership Council have gathered forces statewide to collect more than 6,500 books for the Central Texas school district’s battered libraries.

The council is made up of 29 student members who develop leadership skills through service projects in their communities. The students came up with their own ways to collect books in their hometowns for donation.

West Elementary School had the most devastation after the explosion — the fourth- and fifth-grade sections of the library were completely destroyed, Amanda Adams, the district’s executive director of curriculum and instruction, said. Those sections needed fiction and nonfiction books, while the junior high and high school needed mostly fiction books.

Carolyne Markle, coordinator of Lone Star Youth Leadership Council, offered her students the chance to create their own group service project to help out.

“They’ve been collecting the books since October,” she said. “We collected them over spring break, and I thought we’d get about 2,500 books. I know these kids and that they are go-getters, but I didn’t expect 6,000 books. They are so excited at what they have done.”

Some students passed out fliers asking for donations, some held a book drive in their schools, and others spread the word through social media. Overall the students collected more than 6,500 books which were given to the district Wednesday.

Mary O’Brien, a paraprofessional with the district, said that staffers will begin placing the books onto shelves and that she is excited to see the progress toward rebuilding the libraries.

“We were so grateful for everything the students had done,” she said. “[Markle] was telling us the events they had planned, and I just thought it was amazing they collected more than 6,000 books.”

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