Second grade students from Sara Damaschke’s class at Kansasville School display the books they received from National Honor Society students at Union Grove Union High School.

High school honor students reach out to second graders

By Gail Peckler-Dziki


Every year, Union Grove High School National Honor Society students brainstorm under the guidance of their sponsor, Andy DelPonte, for service projects.

This year, NHS students considered what they would have found helpful when they were younger. What they decided is that early reading was key to their academic success.

To promote literacy at an early age, they launched a program to provide each second grade student at Union Grove Elementary School and Kansasville Elementary School with a book each month to take home.

Each month, 80 books will be given to the three classes of second grade students in the two elementary schools.

There is a second phase to this program, according to DelPonte.

“We are working on logistics to coordinate times when our NHS members can read with the younger students,” he said.

Megan Baker, NHS secretary, said, “We hope that giving books out to the second graders is only the start. We are hoping that we can go and read with them. Good reading skills are so important, and we want to encourage them to develop those skills as much as we can.”

NHS President Molly Bryson points out, “We wanted to encourage them to read because many of our NHS members think that a large part of their success in school is because they are good readers.”

Vice President James McKnight said, “We decided to give books to the second graders because they are old enough to read fun books on their own but young enough develop a good habit of reading.”

The project provided extra incentive during the group’s fundraising efforts, Treasurer Elizabeth Torhorst explained.

“Our members worked really hard on our poinsettia fundraiser this year so that we will be able to give a book to each second grader this year,” she said. “They did a great job!”

Sara Damaschke, a first and second grade teacher at Kansasville Elementary said the book donations are appreciated.

“The overwhelming kindness and eagerness to spread the love of reading from Union Grove’s NHS has been an unexpected delight,” she said. “My students are so excited to be receiving new books every month. Nothing warms my heart like the smile on a child’s face when reading a brand new book.”

Tom Hanson, assistant principal at UGES, said, “The desire was to give books that students would want to read not just once, but over and over again.”

The December book chosen by the NHS members for the second grade students was “How to Catch Santa.”

No news yet on the January choice.

For more news from the Union Grove area see the weekly Westine Report.