Wallkill Valley Regional High School students are giving back.
The Randy Pausch chapter of the National English Honor Society (NEHS) did several service projects during the year, including tutoring students struggling with their English classes, organizing holiday writing contests for students at the school, and writing letters to veterans for a Veteran’s Day dinner at Sussex County Community College and to teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week.
In addition, the NEHS held a book sale in the school cafeteria to raise funds and organized a place for students to write letters to the children at St. Jude’s Hospital for the holiday season.
NEHS members also collected school supplies for backpacks that will be created in September for students in need at Family Promise of Sussex County.
Most recently, the organization, headed by faculty adviser Jennifer Grabowski, completed a children’s book project for the preschool that is run at the high school.
NEHS members decided to create a story that incorporated the preschool students taking a field trip to the zoo with their teacher, Anmarie DeGiovanni.
Their mission was to write the book, have the visual arts students illustrate it, have it bound and “published” by the school, then present it to the preschool students as a graduation gift.
“When the NEHS came up with the idea to write a book for the children in our child development class, I couldn’t wait to get started,” said senior Nicole DeFinis. “Being in charge of this project reminded me of how much the National English Honor Society makes a positive difference in our school.”
For the project, each member was assigned a child along with their favorite color and animal.
After the students wrote their story lines about the children, the book was sent to Chris Stefanski’s class to be illustrated. With the help of Pete Schornstaedt, the books were bound.
Each child even received a signed copy after NEHS members read the book about them.
“It was a fun and exciting experience,” DeFinis said. “I loved seeing everyone on the NEHS book committee working together to create such a special memory for the kids. The children can now look back on this book that was made just for them for the rest of their lives.”
Grabowski said she was honored to work with such a great group of dedicated, self-motivated, hard-working students.
“Every day my students remind me of the importance of giving back to the community - it is so wonderful to see our youth embrace each service project as their way of sharing their gifts with those in need. They are truly an inspiration to the Wallkill Valley community.
”Their service to the organization has not only helped them develop strong leadership skills but has enabled them to strive for academic excellence and given them an opportunity to utilize their literary expertise for the benefit of others - an accomplishment that would make any teacher proud!”