Girl Scout Silver Award Project Spreads Love of Literacy

Literacy Coach Susana Cruz, Victoria Cerone, Sophia Monioudis, Principal Amy Winder, Viviana Cornier, and Emma Rose

Students attending class in the portable classrooms at Indian Trace Elementary School now have access to books to read before school begins, thanks to a group of enterprising Girl Scouts. To earn their Silver Award, Sophia Monioudis, Victoria Cerone, Emma Rose and Viviana Cornier built Little Libraries to place outside the portables at their former elementary school.

The Silver Award is the highest award a Cadette (middle school-aged) Girl Scout can earn. The requirements include identifying a need in the community and through hard work, dedication, team work, and community partnerships solving the problem in a sustainable way which will live on with the finished project.

Indian Trace Elementary Literacy Coach Susana Cruz says to promote reading, the school had created “Hall-braries” for the classrooms inside the buildings, where children could take a book to read while waiting for the school day to begin. During a PTA meeting, she mentioned that the students in the portables didn’t have access to the “Hall-braries” due to weather concerns. Upon learning about this literacy challenge, the Girl Scouts immediately knew this was a problem they could solve.

For the Silver Award project, each girl carefully crafted a Little Library for the school. Home Depot and Lowes generously donated the supplies, and the girls enlisted the help of engineering and robotics students at Cypress Bay High School to construct the Little Libraries.

“Building the library was very difficult as none of us had used carpentry and engineering tools before,” shared Victoria. “The high school kids were able to help us cut and build.”

The girls had to measure, cut, sand and nail the pieces together perfectly in order for the Little Libraries to function correctly. They also had to build a door with wood, plexi-glass and hinges. The final step was to paint and weatherproof the Little Libraries, before filling them with books they donated and collected.

“The teachers and parents were so excited and impressed when we unveiled our libraries at Family Book Fair Night,” noted Sophia.

Viviana says this project was particularly meaningful to her. “I am passionate about this issue because when I was at Indian Trace my 3rd and 4th grade classes were in the portables and we did not have access to books, so we would just sit outside in the morning with nothing to do.”

Mrs. Cruz says she is thankful for the Girl Scouts. “They have helped spread the love of literacy in our school by making our students excited about books and making sure all students have access to books at all times.”

Completing the Silver Award was a rewarding experience states Emma. “It was amazing to see the project through from beginning to end and to know that it will live on at Indian Trace Elementary for years to come.”