Africa Project Is a New Chapter in WPHS Legacy

WHEELING – Wheeling Park High School’s book club is leading a school-wide effort this holiday season to raise money not just for the WPHS media center, but for school libraries in Africa.

The book club has involved WPHS staff and students in its “Holiday Gifts” program, through which the club is selling red and green paper links for 25-cents each. The links are purchased in each homeroom are being strung together into a holiday chain hung in the classroom, with the classrooms at each grade level generating the most money receiving a prize.

Book club adviser Jackie Shriner said the club hopes to raise $2,000 before Christmas break begins Oct. 18, but she added more than $1,000 was raised during the first six days of the contest that began Nov. 13.

Money generated will be used by book club members to provide two “gifts” before students return to school in January, according to Shriner.

The first “gift” will go toward establishing a reading corner in the WPHS media center, she said. Additional books, furniture and lighting will be purchased and placed during Christmas break.

The second gift, however, will be books sent to school libraries in Cameroon, a country in west-central Africa. Justin Forzano, a 2003 WPHS graduate, collects books for students in Cameroon as part of the Cameroon Football Development Program he founded there, Shriner explained.

“With the funds and materials sent to CFDP by WPHS, we will establish mini-libraries which will help to secure a massive Wheeling Park legacy in Africa based upon improving the lives of students in these areas,” Forzano said in a provided statement. “This program, in which large donations are combined with fundraising efforts dedicated to helping with international shipment costs, will be a model for future partnerships between CFDP and the local community.”

Half of the money is being directed toward the reading corner in the WPHS media center, and the second half for buying and shipping books to Africa, Shiriner explained.

The book club, class officer and student officers are working together to present a united front in an effort to raise money for the “Holiday Gifts” project, she continued.

“We are all coming together to leave a legacy for (WPHS) students,” she said.

The WPHS book club works toward promoting literacy in the school, Shriner explained. About 30 students are involved, and meet after school for book discussions and study groups.

Members of the community interested in donating to the “Holiday Gifts” project should contact the high school at 304- 243-0400.