Columbus High School sophomore Stephen Sosa and his brother, David, put together and book drive called “Books for Briland” for a school library at the Harbour Island All Age School in Harbour Island in the Bahamas.
Sosa said he expected to gather 500-600 books and was surprised when they received 2,700.
The brothers learned about the need for the books when they saw a building going up while on vacation on Harbour Island, where they go for two weeks each summer. Learning about the need for books to fill the library made him appreciate his school even more because of how easy it is to get the books he needs.
“It made me want to help because I’m so blessed in my life,” Stephen said.
Before conducting the book drive, the brothers needed to figure out how to get the donated books to the island.
“We emailed the owner of the shipping line (SeaCor Island Lines) and he was willing to pitch in for our cause,” Sosa said. “So he gave us the free freight to take them.”
The book drive took place over two weeks in November. Collection boxes were placed in the counselor’s offices and the school cafeteria.
“I emailed the principal about the project,” he said. “During the announcements every day [the principal] would announce to everyone to bring in books. It drove everyone to bring in more books.”
After school each day, the brothers would empty the donation boxes.
“Every day we looked at all the books we got that day; we checked the genres and the age requirements of the books,” he said.
Among the books sent, they had at least three sets of the Harry Potter series, Mike Lupica books and Eric Carle books.
At Columbus, Sosa is a Mas Scholar, which means he’s in the top 10 percent of his class. He also is in the new Capstone Program, which is designed by the College Board to help students develop research skills.
— Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld