News Archive

Lasting Impact with a Purpose to Give Back

Geoffrey Forsyth has big plans for his future after St. Mary’s High School.  
Aspiring to be part of the United States Naval Academy to become a career officer, more specifically, joining the Special Warfare community (SEALs).  He has proven to be an outstanding student, athlete and member of our community during his education at St. Mary’s.  Mr. Forsyth is part of Boy Scouts - Troop 396, in Annapolis, Maryland where he recently became an Eagle Scout.  

For his Eagle Project, he wanted to do something different, something meaningful.  “I didn't want to build a gazebo, or a kayak rack or the generic building project; I wanted to make lasting impact”, states Forsyth.  He had heard about a previous Eagle in my troop that reached out and did his project through an organization called the
African Library Project (ALP).  After a lot of paperwork and a few meetings, he had the approval for the project.  For starters, he created his own web page through ALP, which launched his project.  Collecting over one thousand books, 4th-8th grade reading level to go towards the creation of a library in Malawi, Africa would be his goal.  He set an ambitious deadline of June 1, which was only about 2.5 months to get everything he needed.  Collecting books took more time than anticipated, until he brought the idea to St. Mary’s High School.  A few morning and afternoon announcents later, students were bringing in books.  Soon his empty box was being filled with wonderful books that would go on to change lives.  Through St. Mary's, he collected around 350 books in combination with his troop and a few boxes from the public library, which gave him 1,136 books.  All books needed to be culturally appropriate in order to be part of the project.
 
On May 31, the day before the deadline, Forsyth sent his collection of books to Africa.  Time passed and when he had his Eagle Board of Review, passing and going through the system, he became an official Eagle Scout. 
 
In September, a representative from the African Library Project emailed Forsyth photos of individuals from Malawi packing books into the back of a pickup truck.
 
“I do not think I have ever smiled with more pride and joy in my entire life than in that moment.  It was not just a photo; it was the culmination of all of the sacrifices made to accomplish my project.  This project helped me realize how important it is to look at the world as our community, not just Annapolis, or Maryland, or the US.   Love and sacrifice go hand in hand with happiness and this project proved that to me more than anything did and my hope is that one day I will have the opportunity to visit Malawi and the children whose lives I was able to affect, states Forsyth.”
 
Mr. Forsyth is from Annapolis, Maryland and has attended St. Mary’s since in freshman year, along with his twin sister.  He is a member of the Cross Country, Swimming, and Track Teams.  His first college choice is the United State Naval Academy with Virginia Tech closely behind.   When asked what St. Mary’s means to him, “I really appreciates the tight-knit community”.
 
About African Library ProjectThe African Library Project changes lives book by book by starting libraries in rural Africa.  Our grassroots approach mobilizes U.S. volunteers, young and old, to organize book drives and ship books to start or improve a library in Africa.  Our method makes a concrete and personal difference for children and communities on both continentsIn the United States, our volunteers collect, sort, and pack gently used children's books to ship to specific African communities. They organize book drives in local schools and neighborhoods and raise modest funds to ship the books to our African partners.  In Africa, our partners range from Peace Corps volunteers to school administrators. They receive the books and organize them into libraries to serve local African communities. Along the way, the U.S. donors learn about Africa and develop closer connections to the people in the recipient communities.  For more information on how you can help, please visit: info@africanlibraryproject.org

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St. Mary’s Parish, a Catholic congregation served by the Redemptorist Order, includes St. Mary’s Church and St. John Neumann Mission Church. St. Mary's Elementary and High School located in downtown Annapolis, Maryland, serve students in grades Kindergarten through 12. Anchored in faith, rooted in tradition, and committed to excellence, our programs build lifelong learners who are servant leaders.
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