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Metamora students give gift of literacy to Peoria Public School primary students; win Community Contribution Award

Peoria Public School board and administrators awarded Metamora Township High School (MTHS) its Community Contribution Award on Monday, November 11 in recognition for a big boost MTHS students gave the district’s Little Free Library October book drive as part of the school’s 2019 Homecoming festivities.

In May 2019, in partnership with the PPS Foundation and Align Peoria, PPS installed Little Free Library at its K-4 and K-8 buildings, Valeska Hinton Early Childhood Education Center and St. Paul Baptist Church. The October book drive, also sponsored by The Book Rack, aimed to collect 10,000 new and gently used children’s books to keep the Little Free Libraries stocked through the 2019-2020 year. 

During Homecoming Week, each MTHS class chooses a local non-profit for a community service project. The sophomore class chose the PPS Little Free Library book drive. Sophomores not only collected books, but created a book donation competition to get other classes to pitch in. When seniors, juniors or freshmen donated books, the number was subtracted from the sophomore’s donation totals. In the end, the sophomore class reigned, and the MTHS community donated over 2,000 books to PPS Little Free Libraries.

According to Dr. Nicole Wood, PPS Executive Director of Primary Schools, the October book drive passed its goal, collecting 10,282 books and $530 in financial contributions to purchase books.  “We think it is extra special that the Metamora students are helping younger students from another community on the path to literacy,” said Wood. “We are so thrilled that our libraries at all 14 sites will be stocked with books for the entire year and that our students will continue to be able to read new books.”

Faculty and student members of the MTHS 2019 Homecoming committee accepting the award included teacher Tabitha Cooper; seniors Connor Lopez and Malachi Rooks; sophomore Libby Wipfler, and freshman Kates Krasin.  Approximately 16 students worked on the book drive project along with teachers Erinn Setterland, Elizabeth Gualandri and Zach Hilligoss. 

Krasin told the PPS board that getting involved in such a worthwhile project so soon after starting high school was a great experience and eased the transition to a new school experience.