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The Purple Clarion

The Purple Clarion

ACE members ‘ace’ giving to community

Juniors Natalie Beck and Brilee Holbrook started personal projects to help their communities and others in need.

The two started the projects through the Accelerated College Experience (ACE) program at Southern Illinois College (SIC). The program was created with the hopes of helping students be more active in their community through personal projects and other services. It also helps them with scholarships and collegiate skills.

“ACE really thrives in giving students varied experiences in volunteer service and seeing what is out there for them to help make our community better, but also to help them craft better scholarship essays and learn valuable interviewing skills that will let them stand out from other scholarship applicants going into college,” community service director of ACE Rachel Parish said. 

Students who are enrolled in the program have to have a personal project that helps their community in some capacity.

“The students need to have a project that benefits their community, is something they themselves have to create or ‘lead’ in terms of the organization, and that they mainly carry out as the leader or on their own. But aside from that, the sky’s the limit as to how creative they can be with the project,” college and career counselor Emma Lane said. 

ACE member junior Natalie Beck did a book drive and lending library for her personal project.

“The premise of the ‘lending library’ is that people can take books to keep for themselves or to borrow for a period of time and/or leave books that they don’t necessarily want or need anymore. It keeps old books from getting thrown away while giving them new life in a way,” Beck said. 

Beck’s admiration for literature and recycling inspired her to start the project.

“I chose books because of the significant impact of reading on my life, but I also chose to collect books because of the environmental impact,” Beck said. “Millions of trees are cut down every year to produce books and many of those books are never read. If I could collect even one book that would have been thrown out, I see it as a win.”

Junior and ACE member Brilee Holbrook held a 4Cs donation drive for her project.

“I’m bringing [the supplies] in because it’s a cause that I support, but it will all be going to [the 4Cs] and the change will be used to buy even more canned goods and any other non-perishables,” Holbrook said.

Holbrook believes the community and services towards it give a sense of unity through its participants.

“I know that even here at the high school we are less privileged than others. It is good to know that people in their one school can have access to these resources. It gives a sense of community to those participating,” Holbrook said. 

Through helping their community, both Beck and Holbrook gain a sense of joy.

“I thought it would be nice to at least try, but it has been a really fun experience,” Beck said.

Holbrook seems to agree.

“The activities and experiences are really fun,” Holbrook said. “I really enjoy doing community service, and I enjoy helping others in general. I just think that is a nice thing to do.”




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Kylan Jerrell
Kylan Jerrell, Staff Writer
Kylan Jerrell is a senior at Harrisburg High School. This is his first year working as an Purple Clarion staff member. He participates in the school band, playing the trombone for the concert, jazz, and marching band. He is also an active member in Key Club, History Club, Music Club and Book Club. He is passionate about literature, writing, and music.  Kylan spends his free time reading, writing short stories and poetry, practicing his instrument and listening to a wide variety of music. He plans on attending school to study both music and literature.  “Student journalism gives a voice to students, both as writers and participants in school activities. It is an essential part of the ‘High School Experience’.”

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