SARANAC - Students from the Saranac Central School District are underscoring the importance of teaching children to read and they're doing it in the honor of two young women lost in the prime of their lives.
The Saranac Middle School-High School Library Club recently made a $500 donation to Journey Into Reading, a local nonprofit organization which encourages and promotes youth literacy. The students made the donation in memory of fellow club members Stephanie Heath, 17, and Courtney Alexander, 18, who were killed in a motor vehicle accident March 31.
Prior to the accident, club advisor John Elliot said the students - which included Heath and Alexander - were already interested in helping Journey Into Reading, motivated the Saranac Teachers Association's annual contribution to the program.
"Since the teachers association was making a donation, I suggested it would also be nice for us to make a donation because there seems to be a lot of children from the Saranac school district who benefit from the program," said Elliot.
The students were in the process of gathering money for the donation when the accident claimed Heath's and Alexander's lives. It was then the donation took on special meaning.
"We had another meeting and the suggestion was made that when we send the check that we send it in their memory," said Elliot.
The students took what money they had already raised and later combined it with donations the school district received in memory of Heath and Alexander.
"Courtney and Stephanie were a big part of this library club so we were all for it," said student Beth Ann Wright, one of Heath's best friends.
"I think it's really nice we could do this because both of them were in the library a lot, so obviously they liked to read," added student Andrew Racette.