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WEST HILLS : Students Send Aid to School by the Volumes

Inside a copy of “The Castle in the Attic,” LaRue Floyd, 10, found a letter written in pencil.

Signed by a girl named Emily George, it read:

“I hope you like the book. I’m really sorry what happened. I live in Erie. I wish I could be there to help. Enjoy the sun. We do not get much.”

The volume was one of the more than 600 pounds of children’s books sent to students at Hamlin Street Elementary School in West Hills by elementary and junior high school students in Erie, Pa.

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Shortly after the Jan. 17 Northridge earthquake, the Mill Creek School District in Erie started a drive to collect books for a quake-damaged San Fernando Valley school.

Pam Nourbakhsh, a PTA representative at Belle Valley Elementary School in Erie, said she had heard that Hamlin was one of the many schools that had to be closed for two weeks because of the quake. So Hamlin was chosen as the recipient of the books.

“We saw the need (Hamlin had) to be replenished with books,” Nourbakhsh said.

The Pennsylvania school district called the book drive, “Tales from the East,” and pooled the efforts of its students and local bookstores for the project.

The 600 pounds of books collected arrived by truck at Hamlin elementary earlier this month. They were divided into hard-covers, which will go into the school library, and paperbacks, of which students are allowed to pick one to read and then put into their classroom collection.

A tag in each book is printed with the name of the Pennsylvania child who chose it and then raised the money to purchase it. Many of the books also carried letters with messages of friendship and concern.

“It’s their allowance (that they spent to buy this book). They could have bought Nintendo games or a computer for their school. But they thought of us first and that’s real nice,” said Adir Biton, 10, who selected for his class, “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs! by A. Wolf.”

Hamlin Principal Donna Wheeler said her students will write back to the Erie students in a pen-pal exchange. She said she also will compile a scrapbook of pictures and thank you notes to send to the district.

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“I’m so pleased. It’s so thoughtful,” Wheeler said. “This will make them (Hamlin students) feel the earthquake is over and we can get back to feeling things are OK.”


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