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State Honoree

Chas Duff

California

Chas Duff, 14, of Chatsworth, Cal., an eighth-grade student at Sierra Canyon School, is remodeling an old locker room into a library at a high school attended by juvenile offenders. “My project idea came from three things that are very important to me,” Chas said. “The first is reading, the second is helping people, and the third is doing the right thing.” After learning that William Tell Aggeler High School in Los Angeles did not have a library, Chas offered to provide one and then went to work developing a plan and obtaining all of the necessary approvals. He solicited donations of money, building materials, and skilled labor from local businesses, unions and civic groups. Volunteers from Chas’ school, scout troop, and church helped level a cement floor, paint walls, install carpet, and build shelving. Others shelved and cataloged book donations using the Dewey Decimal system. Chas says that he learned many things from this project, including the importance of patience. “Someone once told me that this project is like eating an elephant,” he said. “Now I know what he meant: you take one bite at a time, and you will finish.”