SHENANDOAH JUNCTION – A lifelong love of reading provided the inspiration for Peyton Lavallee’s Girl Scout project where she constructed bookcases then donated them and books to three local elementary schools.
“I grew up loving to read,” said Lavallee, 18, who just graduated from Washington High. “I thought it would be wonderful for children to get a new book they could share with others and not have to return it.”
Lavallee, a member of Girl Scout Troop 40437, decided on her project as part of earning the Gold Award, the highest honor a Girl Scout can attain. “It’s like the Eagle Scout for Boy Scouts,” Lavalle said.
Lavallee began work on the bookcases during spring break. She crafted them by recycling wooden pallets.
“The first bookcase took two days to make,” Lavallee said. “It was a huge learning curve. I had to stain them, too. The others were easier once I knew what I was doing. The fact that they were made from recycled pallets also means there was environmental awareness involved.”
The other part of the project included getting books for those bookcases. Lavallee said 525 books were ultimately collected.
“I found books at Goodwill and other places. People also donated them,” Lavallee said.
Lavallee gave the books and bookcases to Wright Denny and Page Jackson elementary schools. Her final delivery went to T. A. Lowery. Lavallee and her mother Angie delivered all the books and bookcases. Lavellee placed the bookcase loaded with books at the front of the library at T.A. Lowery.
Kristen Martin, principal at T.A. Lowery, was on hand for the delivery along with the school’s librarian Beth Chapman.
“She contacted us. We are thrilled to have her here,” Martin said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to promote actual books to students. And the timing is great. They can take books home to read during the summer.”
Chapman agreed. “Reading brings a whole new world to students,” she said. “They are particularly fond of graphic novels, which have pictures, too.”
Lavallee grew up in Charles Town. She has a sister Rosalyn, 14, who is a student at Washington, and a brother Bryan, 20. This fall she’ll head to Alderson Broaddus University in Philippi.
“I was really excited by this project,” she said. “I wanted to share my love of literature, to spark the imagination of young people.”