By Adam Silvernail
At Ellicottville Central School, the Ellicottville Students Preserving Reading in America (ESPRA) club has begun.
This club hosts a variety of fundraisers for those who need it, and also takes their members on field trips. ESPRA has been a club at ECA for many years and has done some serious good.
The club held elections last year to determine who would hold the positions of president, vice-president, treasurer and secretary.
For the past few years, ESPRA has been writing a magazine once every school quarter and distributing them throughout the school for free. The magazine includes poems, opinion pieces, articles discussing or debating various topics, and the occasional satirical piece — my favorite one is about the French mafia.
In fact, it is rumored that the ESPRA magazine will be available outside of the school as well. Look forward to an update in a future edition of the Ellicottville Times.
Every year, ESPRA hosts several fundraisers to benefit organizations that benefit the community. One of their favorites is Teacher’s Desk, where teachers can shop for free books and school supplies for needy children. They have a large assortment of fundraisers each year and are constantly creating new ones to replace some older ones that were less successful.
Last year during the Christmas season, ESPRA created ornaments with shredded pieces of paper that had passages from different books in them. This year, there has been talk of a bake sale, or at least something to do with food. Other ideas have been thrown around, but nothing solid has landed yet.
ESPRA frequently takes its members on field trips as well. In fact, some members of ESPRA took a field trip Nov. 1 to Buffalo to visit independently-owned bookstores. In addition to trips like that, there are also field trips to the Albert Knox art museum in Buffalo and local organizations to physically help out there. These field trips generally take the whole day but are well worth it.
Every year, for various holidays, ESPRA has a potluck during lunch. There are usually four per year, though that number can change. There has also been talk about changing the potluck formatting, so everybody doesn’t feel rushed to finish in the 30-minute lunch period.
ESPRA Vice President Samantha Van Wicklin discussed some other things the club has planned for this year.
“We’re planning a used book sale and planning on creating mini journals to sell this December, in addition to the usual stuff we do.”
Samantha also mentioned some things the club hopes to do this year that they didn’t have a chance to last year.
“Hopefully the used book sale. It used to be an ESPRA tradition, but for the past two years we haven’t done it,” she said.
Even with plans to bring back the used book sale, Samantha said the club’s officers likely don’t plan on doing anything else new this year.
ESPRA is a pretty cool club. If there is any Ellicottville high school student who enjoys reading or helping people and has not already joined, I suggest you do. And even if you don’t, you can still support ESPRA by participating in their fundraisers. With but a few dollars, you can help those that need it.