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Third Graders Publish Book to Raise Money for Hurricane Victims

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Students at Stone-Robinson Elementary School Students at Stone-Robinson Elementary School
The students published a book to raise funds The students published a book to raise funds
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

A group of third-grade students at Stone-Robinson Elementary School has a personal interest in helping families in Puerto Rico.

The students are raising money for people still suffering from the effects of last year's hurricane while also practicing their reading skills. The students wanted to help families in Puerto Rico because their assistant principal is from the island and still has family living there. They say they didn't think a lemonade stand would cut it, so now they're promoting a book campaign with the hope of making a difference.

After category-five Hurricane Maria pummeled Puerto Rico back in September, students at Stone-Robinson knew they needed to help.

"I was really scared for a couple of my friends and Mrs. Gonzalez," says Ruby Davis, a student at the elementary school.

Mrs. Gonzalez is the assistant principal at Stone-Robinson and grew up in Puerto Rico. Her mother, father, and brother are still on the island.

"Water comes and goes, power comes and goes,” says Assistance Principal Rosaura Gonzalez. “We send food for a while."

The students decided to combine their reading and writing skills and write an Alphabet book to sell in order to raise money. Teachers say the students have inspired them as well.

"All I did was facilitate everything, and then they took it from there,” says Karen Heathcock, a resource teacher. “So really I sort of followed their lead more than they followed mine.”

The students didn't want Mrs. Gonzalez to know about the book until they were close to publishing.

“The first time that the teacher asked me to edit it and look over, I read the dedication and it was a surprise I didn't know,” says Gonzalez. “I cried."

On Friday, January 26, Stone-Robinson hosted a school-wide family reading night to celebrate the students’ efforts.

“They're famous now, you know, and for them to be here and for everyone to recognize and see it, its tangible, it makes sense to them,” says Gonzalez.

The third graders are unsure of how to handle their new fame as published authors.

“It feels really weird because I’m only a third grader and I don’t know what famous feels like, so just having a photo booth already just feels really nice," says Ruby.

Now they're on to the marketing phase. They say while they hope people buy their book, they really just want the people of Puerto Rico to get the help they need to recover.

"I want them to know that a lot of people are in need right now because of the hurricanes and everybody should help a little bit at least,” says Sophie Hicks, a student at the school.

The students say they hope to develop a website to sell their book and are also looking into selling on Amazon. In the next few weeks, a pre-order form will be available on Stone-Robinson's website for those wishing to order a copy of the book.

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