Sparta Girl Scout Earns Gold Award

| 31 Jan 2019 | 09:36

Sparta - Catherine Byers, a senior at Sparta High School and a Girl Scout with the Sparta Service Unit, has earned her Girl Scout Gold Award. Catherine started a library in a school in Haiti that her parish, Our Lady of the Lake Church, helps to support. The idea came to her while watching a documentary at a Girl Scout Journey weekend on the global literacy problem and from listening to her parish's Haiti Committee talk about the needs in Haiti.
"There was a ten year old girl in the documentary who returned to a school every day until they allowed her to stay," Byers said. "Her parents couldn't afford for her to go, but she wouldn't give up."
There were two parts to the project, obtaining supplies and educating the community about the literacy problems in Haiti. First, Catherine met with Pat Convey, a member of the Haiti Committee, to learn about the needs of the students. She then went to local stores such as Sparta Books, Home Depot, and Lowe's to discuss her project and ask for donations. She also wrote to numerous online organizations to ask for book donations. Catherine received books, bookshelves, and plastic containers to protect the books, as well as an offer from a publisher for books at a discounted cost. She researched and ordered books written in Haitian Creole with English and French translations. She sent books to the school, as well as math games, flash card packs, and maps. The supplies were sent by ship along with the Haiti Committee donations.
The second part of her project included presentations to 22 CCD classes, grades 3-9, at Our Lady of the Lake Church. The presentations included a slideshow that educated the students about the literacy problem in Haiti. Catherine also set up an information booth at her parish carnival in June with book samples, posters and the slideshow. Catherine would like to thank Pat Convey for her supervision throughout the project, the Haiti Committee, and Betty Heldak, Director of Religious Education at her parish. She would also like to thank Sparta Books, Home Depot, Lowe's, and EducaVision Publishers. When asked about her favorite part of the project,
How does Catherine feel about the project?
"It felt good to hopefully be a part of helping to make a difference in this community in Haiti," she said.
Catherine plans to major in Early Elementary Education in the Fall. Anyone interested in donating Haitian Creole books to the library can bring them to the Parish Office at Our Lady of the Lake Church.