TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - When recent tornadoes damaged Walnut Hill Elementary School in Dallas, students and staff at Owens Elementary School in Tyler wanted to help.
Throughout the first few weeks of November, the school held a book drive to help replace the collection of books in the Walnut Hill Elementary School library that were damaged in the storm.
“I was watching the news one night and they were talking about the storms and how the schools were destroyed," said Risa Wasik, a 4th-grade teacher at Owen Elementary. "So, I thought it was a good way for us to give back to the community and give back to some kids who could really use some help.”
Wasik came up with the idea herself, but she said she had plenty of help from her fellow 4th-grade teachers to execute it. Students and staff collected more than 300 books, Wasik said, with more expected to come in before they ship them off.
“Since it’s so close to Thanksgiving, we wanted to give something to people to kind of make people feel thankful for what other people have done,” said Jace Williams, 4th-grade student. “We wanted to help this school in need.”
Students brought in donations as well as purchased books online. Many of the books were favorites of students who wanted to pass them on to others.
On Wednesday, fourth-grade students wrote messages of hope and encouragement in each book before sorting and delivering them to Walnut Hill Elementary School.
“We wrote very inspirational quotes, and just things to help them get back on their feet and feeling good again,” said Christian Stephen, 4th-grade student.
“I hope they feel excited, and get better again, and I hope they just get back to what [their school] used to be.”
Even more than helping a Texas school recover after a natural disaster, Wasik said she hopes this donation stays with her students long after they’ve left Ownes Elementary.
“Compassion; always give back," Wasik explained. "Even if you have little to give, something is always more than nothing.”
Students will collect books until Friday when the donations will be sent to Dallas.