Young girl helps replace books
Tonganoxie Elementary School started this school year with a few more books than it ended with in the spring.
Mostly because of one 8-year-old girl.
Alex White, the daughter of Tammy and Robert Bartels, said that after the May 11 tornado ripped part of the roof off the elementary school and rains soaked the interior of some of the classrooms, she wanted to do something to help.
"Some of the first-grade teachers I really liked last year lost their books a lot of them in the tornado," Alex said.
"In Mrs. Flynn's class and Mrs. Vernon's class, the roof totally came off and the rain that was coming in ruined the books," she added.
And so, when Alex's mother suggested they might do something to help replace books, Alex jumped at the chance.
"We put out little jars at the library, the fire department, True Value, Outback Video, The Studio, Mo's Pizza, B&J Apple Market and Amoco and Daniel's Bar-B-Que," Alex said.
Alex and her mother also left a box at the fire department where used books could be donated.
When final collections were counted, $150 had been donated for the purchase of new books and 226 used books had been donated.
On top of that, the drive came to the attention of the Kansas City chapter of the Professional Women of Southwestern Bell. The organization donated $802 worth of new books which will be purchased with discounts from Border's Bookstore. Further, through this organization, Scholastic Books also donated about 30 new books.
Tammie George, assistant principal at Tonganoxie Elementary School, said Sonia Reetz also donated about 25 used books.
George said she was grateful for the help from the community and others.
"It was actually kind of nice to go to those teachers' classrooms and say, 'Here's some new books,' and see their eyes light up, instead of waiting for them to say, 'Oh, no, what else has been damaged." George said.
For Alex, the best part about organizing the book drive was the satisfaction of helping her school.
The hardest part about it, she said, was keeping up with the donations.
"I had to run into every business every week to check the jars," she said.
And what did Alex learn from the process?
"I learned that if you work hard enough, you can accomplish a lot of things."