Honor students send books to Peace Corps volunteers

Published 6:50 am Friday, February 27, 2004

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- National Honor Society students at Niles High School have recently participated in a community service project with an international impact.
At the beginning of the school year, honor society students organized a book drive to help a school in St. Lucia who had lost its library in a hurricane.
The school recieved a letter from a Peace Corps volunteer and Niles woman Mary Durm Mechtenburg, who was stationed in St. Lucia, an island located midway down the Eastern Caribbean chain. The letter was asking for help and explained how a local school had its library wiped out in a hurricane.
The honor society thought it would be a great opportunity to do some good and began a community book drive.
Part of being a member of the National Honor Society involves a committment to serving the community. Students are required to have at least 15 hours of community service to qualify to be a member and then must complete an additional 15 hours after being accepted.
Niles High School teacher Michele Thompson said the group participates in a variety of different community service projects throughout the year.
By mid-October, the honor society had collected several hundred books and was ready to ship them to St. Lucia.
The students used a bathroom scale to make sure the bags did not exceed the 60 pound shipping limit.
They had enough books to fill two 60 pound bags and still had some extra books. The left over books were donated to the Salvation Army.
The National Honor Society paid for the postage by using money they had raised through a few summer fundraisers.
National Honor Society President and Niles High School senior Andrew Whitten said the group collected a mixture of new and used books.
The students also included some school supplies in the shipment to St. Lucia.
The honor society recently recived a letter from St. Lucia thanking them for helping them to rebuild their library.
Thompson said she heard the students and teachers of the school were practically crying because they were so excited.
She said it is part of the honor society's mission to be involved in community service projects.
This recent project proves that can mean an impact that is far beyond the Niles community.