Students walk to stock library shelves

April 21, 2009

By Chantelle Lusebrink


Liberty High School students are hoping you’ll support their addiction to books.The school’s National Honor Society students will raise money and pledges during the next month for their school walkathon May 22.

“It’s a way of helping our school and to start something for the Honor Society that will leave a legacy,” said Ashley Turnidge, honor society president. 

“Last year, the honor society reconvened here at Liberty,” said Dana Greenberg, honor society advisor and activity coordinator for the school. “They wanted to provide a service to the community, but also an academic service. So, they started the global section of the library and their walkathon.”

Proceeds from the event will purchase new books for the school library’s fiction and nonfiction international section, and support improving student-life programs at the F.R. Agnel Multipurpose School and Junior College in Mumbai, India. 

“In the U.S., we have a lot of immigrants from different nations and a lot of them don’t speak English,” Turnidge said. “But if we have the resources in different languages, they’ll be able to use them.”

It is also a way to help native English speakers immerse themselves in a language they are learning or learn more about different cultures around the world, she added. 

It’s been working, Greenberg said. 

“It is expanding the horizons of all the kids,” she said. “It is so cool to know that a child has checked out ‘Harry Potter’ here in Russian to try to read it, because they are learning the language.” 

The proceeds that go to the school in India will provide students with resources and help set up a cultural exchange between the two schools, Turnidge said. Honor Society students got the idea from a fellow member who’d moved to their school about a year ago from the school in India.

“It really enhances the globalization theme that we’ve been working on as a school community for a few years now,” Greenberg said. “Starting a relationship with the school in Mumbai is part of that.”

Ideally, about 60 percent of the funds raised will go to the library and about 40 percent will go toward helping students in India.

Last year, the walk-a-thon raised more than $3,500 for the school’s library with help from 10 local business sponsors, 100 participants and many volunteers. Today, the school’s international fiction and nonfiction section is bigger than ever and includes books written in both English and other languages, thanks to those contributions.  

This year, the society is hoping to raise more. 

“We’d like to raise $5,000. We want to increase the amount we raise but we’re happy to get as much as we can,” Turnidge said, adding it’s a way to combat some of the cuts local schools will face next year.

Students are also looking for business sponsors to donate food and beverages for the walkers and small prizes, Greenberg said.

Community businesses or residents can donate gently used books in foreign languages by dropping them off the day of the event or at the school. 

Monetary donations can be mailed to Liberty High School, 16655 S.E. 136th St., Renton 98059. In the memo line, be sure to denote that it is a donation to the Honor Society Walk-A-Thon. Donations can also be given to Liberty students collecting pledges for the event. 

Community members are also welcome to participate in the walk and donate the day of the event. 

“It is an event that will gather kids from all parts of Liberty and there will be fun activities going on in the field,” Greenberg said. “It should be a really nice time for the whole community.” 

Reach reporter Chantelle Lusebrink at 392-6434, ext. 241 or Comment on this article at 

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