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State Honoree

Chase Olivieri

Puerto Rico

Chase Olivieri, 13, of San Juan, P.R., an eighth-grader at Saint John’s School, is working to create libraries for schools on his island that cannot afford to acquire books and other library materials on their own. Chase’s effort began when he saw students at his school throwing away perfectly good books at the end of the year into a dumpster. He was shocked at how wasteful that seemed, for he knew that there were many kids in other schools who would love to have them. He started a book “recycling” campaign and ended up distributing more than 1,000 books to students at impoverished schools. Since then, Chase has heard from more schools that needed assistance in establishing or building libraries, and he has expanded his effort to help. “I was not previously aware of the overwhelming need,” he said. He has continued to collect encyclopedias, dictionaries and books of all types (in both English and Spanish) for all grade levels, and direct them to schools that desperately need them. At the same time, he has involved his school librarian, teachers, maintenance staff and classmates in his project, as well as an architect, who is helping one school plan a library addition. “I am proud to bring people together to meet a common goal,” said Chase. Chase was also Puerto Rico’s middle level State Honoree in 2002.