- Whiz Kids: students
- Nominated By:
- Accomplishment: Collected over 6,000 books for students in the Joplin School District.
- Key To Awesomeness: Members of the WMS National Junior Honor Society began collecting for the effort in June and loaded the books on a truck headed for Joplin on Oct. 11.
Jacob Hood, an eighth grader at WMS, collected 3,000 books alone for the drive. He called on neighbors, family and friends to collect the new and used books.
“Because of the disaster left by the tornado, we knew that (Joplin students) had lost so much and would need everything from dictionaries to children’s books,” said Hood. “We really wanted to help.”
The city of Joplin, MO was devastated by a tornado that struck the town on May 22, killing 162 people and leaving thousands homeless. Joplin High School and eight other school district buildings sustained damage.
Wentzville Middle School’s NJHS Advisor Sara St. Clair said when she was cleaning out closets and book shelves at the end of the school year, she realized her own family had many books they were not using and the Joplin tragedy was fresh in her mind. She suggested the book drive to her NJHS officers who then ran with the idea. St. Clair said collecting the books was the easy part.
“The most difficult thing for us was to figure out exactly how to transport them down to Joplin.”
When word spread that St. Clair and her husband were planning to spend their own money to rent a moving truck and transport the books, volunteers stepped in to help.
Cyndy Schwab is the grandmother of an NJHS student at the middle school as well as president of the O’Fallon Optimist Club. At her request, the Optimist Club has donated $150 in fuel costs and provided a driver to take the books to Joplin.
In addition, the WMS PTA has offered $350 to help offset the cost of renting the truck.
St. Clair says countless people have come forward to assist in the effort to provide these books for Joplin schools. “I’m so proud of our students and hope they find joy in helping others, even if they are hundreds of miles away.”