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  • Writer's pictureJWMS Newspaper Club

Behind the Book Drive: An Interview with Mrs. Smethy by Josie W.

Julius West’s Student Government Association (SGA) and 8th grade English teacher Mrs. Smethy recently helped support the City of Rockville in a book donation campaign running from November 27 to December 10, 2021. Donations were open to anyone in the Rockville community and were arranged to be dropped off at our very own Julius West, and later moved to the City Hall once the donations were completed.

To further promote the donations, it was decided that JW students participating in the drive would drop off their books in their first period classrooms, and whichever classes collected the most books per grade would earn doughnut parties.

Congratulations to the following classes on their victories, first to third places respectively:

6th Grade: Mr. Brauch, Mrs. Seek, Ms. Shayuth

7th Grade: Mrs. Geddes/Ms. Yen (tied), Mrs. Martinez

8th Grade: Ms. Cook, Mr. Wehr, Ms. Freeman

Mixed Grades: Ms. Strach, Ms. Schaefer, Ms. Flores

Despite this event being quite short, there is still importance behind all donations, so an interview was conducted with Mrs. Smethy to find out more background information and hear her thoughts on the matter.

Mrs. Smethy states that many families in Rockville struggle during the holidays, especially during the pandemic. They may have trouble affording gifts for their children or other family members, a valued tradition for most. “We wanted to help in any way we could,” Mrs. Smethy states, referring to the attention at JW that she and the SGA have helped the campaign receive. With the donation of these books, families have the opportunity to provide their children with presents that they don’t need to spend any money on.

According to Mrs. Smethy, a localized book drive has not been done before. Food drives are common in the school district, but book drives are not particularly frequent. JW students have reportedly attempted to organize independent book donations overseas, but never for children within the Rockville community.

“My favorite part about the book drive has been seeing how many generous and thoughtful students we have at JW,” Mrs. Smethy explains. She appreciates how so many students have come together to support one another, especially in times like these.

“My favorite part about the book drive has been seeing how many generous and thoughtful students we have at JW.” -Mrs. Smethy

“The City of Rockville only has a short window to collect the donations, so it has been challenging to promote this drive in the short time that we have,” she explains when asked about possible organization difficulties. “With a school as large as JW, it can be difficult to spread the word and make sure that students are donating.” Although this can be true, Mrs. Smethy also reports that several sixth grade classes have provided some notably large donations.

Overall, the drive was a huge success. Over 2,300 books were donated--nearly double the population of our school!

Mrs. Smethy predicts that our school will support and hold more events like these in the future. “We want to be able to give back directly to our community, so look out for more opportunities after winter break!”

Whether it be a single donation or many, be sure to help out with the next opportunity knowing that you are supporting our community.

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