Dear Verona students, staff, parents, and community members,
Since this past summer, the VHS French Club, along with our French teacher Mrs. Mordkovich and myself, have collaborated with Mr. Evans Auguste in the development of a library collection for the St-François Xavier School in the town of Ouanaminthe in Haiti. During the past 2 months, we have been leading a book drive to benefit Haitian students ages 6-12. Books in English, Spanish, and French were donated to the cause. Additionally, our music teacher and band director Mr. Lynch, along with the Verona Music Department, collected instruments and other music equipment for École St-François Xavier’s music program.
We are happy to announce that we have collected over 40 boxes, an approximate 1,500 books that will be directly shipped to Ouanaminthe thanks to the efforts of Mr. Auguste, his volunteer group, and many benefactors who have secured the funds to transport the donated titles as well as other books that have been purchased.
French Club members were offered an opportunity to name the library. Several students submitted their ideas for consideration. The organizers of the library chose the entry of Kelly Esposito, Gillian Lamb and Maeve McGinley who proposed to honor the “father of Haitian Letters” Frankétienne (born Franck Étienne). The name resonated with the community of the town of Ouanaminthe as it “embodies excellence and perseverance, two traits the library will instill” according to Mr. Auguste.
Mr. Auguste and the school of St-François Xavier were so overwhelmed with the response and generosity of the Verona community, that they have honored our effort by naming an area of the library the Verona Reading Room. Mr. Auguste has shared with us some photos from the inauguration of the Frankétienne library that you may access by clicking on this link.
That being said, such a generous contribution is the collective effort of a group of people who not only believe that literacy is an important part of any child's’ life, but that access to books is a right that should be granted to all. On behalf of Mrs. Mordkovich, the VHS French Club, and myself we would like to give a special thank you to:
- Our Verona Public School librarians, Mrs. Kleinknecht, Mrs. Walker, and Mrs. Freda. We thank you for your efforts in collecting books and your support throughout the process. Thank you for always being a champion of libraries - no matter where they may be.
- A special thank you to Mr. Jay Aiello and Mr. Spencer D’Alessio, for coordinating and communicating book collections and for your help in getting all of our donations ready. We appreciate your incredible generosity and your commitment to ensure that every book is accounted for.
- Lastly, we are thankful for the generosity of all Verona students and residents for your donations. Thank you for breathing life into École St-François Xavier’s new library by sharing your own collections.
Every child should have the opportunity to access books that allow them to dream, imagine, learn and explore. School libraries offer a safe space for students to grow both academically and personally. We are thankful for your support as we help École St-François Xavier’s students grow, and look forward to the development of its own safe space.
Ms. Maria Mayo