Ohio State organization working to bring books to local schools

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Mortar Board of Ohio State University is a national honor society that recognizes college seniors for outstanding achievement in scholarship, leadership and service.

This year’s class aims to increase literacy throughout central Ohio with its service project called Reading is Leading.

“Just an incredible group of people who were considered to be achieving great things one day,” said Reagan Beckett, vice president of service for Mortar Board, Ohio State.

Mortar Board began in 1918, with The Ohio State University being one of five founding collegiate chapters. Today, the honor society has grown to more than 230 chapters nationwide, and OSU President Dr. Kristina Johnson was recently inducted as an honorary member.

“I can’t even speak to how many things she’s accomplished, but she’s incredibly deserving to be on Mortar Board,” Beckett said.

As Vice President of Service for 108and Mortar Board class, Beckett and his colleagues have collected more than 1,000 books through their Reading is Leading service project, but they still need more.

“What we decided to do is collect books for a local elementary school – it’s actually right behind OSU, it’s called Graham Elementary and Middle School (GEMS), and then we also do a donation to two different domestic violence shelters,” Beckett said of the group’s efforts.

More than 35 active Mortar Board members have held fundraisers throughout the year to help raise awareness of its mission to increase literacy in central Ohio.

“The reason we chose GEMS is that they had to sacrifice their library space due to COVID, so now these kids have no books to take home and read and really advance their skills in literacy, their creativity,” Beckett said.

She hopes that by giving local children the opportunity to read various books, it could one day turn them into successful leaders within the community.

“To have a lasting impact on a community that I’ve been part of for four years, but then these books are going to benefit, you know, five, seven, ten years down the line,” Beckett said.

Beckett said the group will be collecting books throughout the spring and has started an Amazon wishlist with specific books for certain grade levels that have yet to be donated.

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