Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A Book Drive for Haiti

Students at Lycée National in Quanaminthe, Haiti
A Book Drive for Haiti
The Verona High School French Club, along with high school librarian Ms. Maria Mayo, will be hosting a Book Drive for children in Haiti starting on October 16th, 2017.

Children’s Library: Project Details

Mr. Evans Auguste, the sponsor for the building of a brand new library in Haiti, had reached out to Ms. Mayo in order to participate in fundraising to develop their children’s library. The French Club, Mrs. Eugenie Mordkovich, along with Ms. Mayo and the VHS community, has offered their support for Mr. Auguste’s mission.

Mr. Evans Auguste and fellow co-workers visited Haiti in January 2017 in order to provide necessities such as clothes, toys, shoes, and school supplies to underprivileged children. The volunteers began to realize that not only were their donations not addressing long term effects for Haiti, but also that the children’s interests seemed to gravitate towards books rather than any other items that were donated.

Mr. Evans Auguste and his co-workers decided that in order to make a long-lasting impact for the education system in Haiti, they would take on the challenge of building a new school library in the town of Ouanaminthe, located in the northern region on Haiti, with the help of local and international organizations which intervened in Haiti.

If you would like to learn more about the project, the school, and other donation efforts you may access the information here.

The primary organizations helping with the construction of the library are CLES, (Collectif de Lutte Contre l’Exclusion Sociale), also known as Group Against Social Exclusion and Educa Vision, who will donate library supplies, as well as design, develop, and distribute education materials, respectively.

Over the past 10 months, Auguste has received the help of individual donors as well, and has gained almost 500 books and over $2,000 to help fund the construction and fulfillment of the library.

How to Help

Book Drive
  • If you would like to contribute to the Book Drive, the French Club and Ms. Mayo will be collecting new and gently used children’s books (ages 5-12) in English, French, and Spanish.
  • Collection boxes will be located at the VHS lobby, the VHS Learning Commons, and all school libraries in Verona.

Online Book Store
  • We are also partnering with Educa Vision, Inc, a Florida-based of multicultural and multi-lingual educational materials.
  • Educa Vision will provide and ship multilingual books directly to the library at Ouanaminthe
  • To learn more, and if you would like to contribute any amount of money to be used toward the purchasing of a multilingual book, please visit to make a donation.

- Ms. Mayo, Mrs. Mordkovich, and the French Club

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Student Shout Out: One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

One of Us Is Lying is about four young stranger walking into detention and leaving as murder suspects. As you read you learn about each one of the characters and how at first they seemed cliche and as more you read the more dimension they have. It’s like the Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars, but better.

There’s Cooper, the golden boy, and best baseball player at Bayview High School. We have Bronwyn, the nerd, the smartest and most successful girl. Addy, the princess, she's known for her lushes locks and being one of the prettiest and girliest people. Finally, we have Nate, the school bad boy. These strangers didn’t talk to each other until now, when they are suspects of a murder case that has happened during their detention for Mr. Avery. Also, let's not forget the most important of them all is Simon. He is the one who caused it all. Why… because he is dead. Simon was an average student in school, but the only thing about him was that he runs an app called “About That” and it tells all the school gossip.

When reading the book there were so many plot twists and cliffhangers. I would want to the read the book for hours and try to figure out myself who killed Simon. The author way of writing the book made it so much more interesting since you get to be read everyone's perspective. You got to know how each of the four are feeling. If anyone were to ask me what my favorite book is it would have to be One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus.

- Emilia Stopka
10th Grade

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Why Do We Read? To Know We Are Not Alone.

"What is your favorite book?"

I'm asked this question more often than not, and the more I read, the more difficult it becomes to answer. I must admit, I do not have a favorite book. When I delve into a book, it serves a different purpose every time. 

When I read Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer while I was backpacking through national parks, it gave me insight into the mind of those who have an insatiable need to wanderlust. Reading A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole drew me in with its detailed character descriptions, and allowed me to see pop culture through a satirical lens. Although I enjoyed all these reading experiences, many of which would be considered critically acclaimed, none of them are personally important enough to be awarded the best book I've read. 

I do remember, however, what book inspired me to read in the first place.

During my Sophomore year of high school, my English teacher had asked me to read a new fiction YA book. She was looking for student feedback in order to possibly add it to the curriculum. At first, it felt like required reading. As I experienced high school through the main character's eyes, I found my own voice within hers. Her ability to laugh at the absurdity of her daily experiences, to find humor in the mundane, and as the plot developed, to even find the courage to stand up when it felt as if it were the last thing she should do. Although it will never be added to the cannon of great literature, I read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson at a time during which I could relate to it, and it has inspired me to learn about the stories of others.  

We read to inform, to inspire, to understand. However, why does the act of reading, and creating literature for that matter, continue to be the backbone of the human experience? Because when we read, we know that we are not alone. 

In the spirit of reading to relate, we have created a list of books available at the LC that have stories of teens with various experiences. Take a minute to look through them, and feel free to check them out at the circulation desk. Perhaps, you may even see yourself within the pages. 

- M. Mayo