By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
Marley Schwarz, a fifteen year old sophomore at The Potomac School in McLean, Va and resident of the Washington D.C. area has set out on a mission to give back where she can where needed. For her, she has chosen Davis Thomas Elementary Middle School. But how does a teenager from D.C. find a connection with this area?
For the last fifteen years, Schwarz’s parents Ryan and Cindy Schwarz have owned a home in the Timberline area and visit here often. At the age of 8, Schwarz joined the Timberline Race Team to pursue her love of skiing. The family started coming every weekend during ski season where she met teammate Resi Anderson, daughter of former ski team coach John Anderson. The two became very good friends leading to a friendship between their parents, including DTEMS teacher Lisa Anderson.
Schwarz was visiting the area during a break from her school and decided to volunteer at DTEMS in L. Anderson’s classroom. While there, she listened to kids read, assisted with math activities, and served as a sort of teaching assistant for the day. She quickly noticed the lack of books and a library in the school which raised a concern for Schwarz. “I loved reading as a kid,” she said, therefore not seeing books in a school was not something she was accustomed to. L. Anderson said a fundraiser known as Bingo for Books had been scheduled for the school, but said due to the lack of books the event had to be cancelled.
This did not set well with Schwarz. When she returned to school, she presented her high school classmates with a power point presentation about the need of one of our rural area schools. This resulted in an awakening of several other students of The Potomac School who wanted to join Schwarz in her efforts to help. A school Book Fair was taking place around this time and one of the deals was the ability to fill a bag with books for just $5. Schwarz and several of her friends brought in the $5 and selected a wide variety of books suitable for all ages from Preschool to eighth grade and set them aside for their next trip to the mountains.
Supportive of such an initiative, her school was happy to help where they could as well.
Schwarz asked L. Anderson what else the school was in need of, which she informed the quantity of technology is lacking being capable to supply each child at the same time with a laptop or chrome books. Schwarz immediately went to her school and asked if they had a suggestion to remedy this issue. It just so happened, The Potomac School had three spare chrome books they generously gave Schwarz to bring to Davis Thomas Elementary Middle School. In addition to books and technology, she has delivered other educational tools such as globes, math tools, and more.
“I’m so grateful that all of my students can be on chrome books,” smiled L. Anderson. “We’re going to be able to replenish a lot of out dated books on teacher’s shelves.” She also informed that because of Schwarz’s contribution, the Bingo for Books will be able to take place at a later date. “We are really blessed,” added L. Anderson.
When asked if she was going to continue this endeavor even though this trip alone provided 790 books bringing her grand total to approximately 1,000 books, she replied “We’re definitely going to see what they need,” and they have no intentions to stop. Mother C. Schwarz said, “We’re really proud of her.” Both her parents were there to help her deliver this car full of boxes for the school. When visiting Tucker County during her school breaks, she plans to continue volunteering at DTEMS when not at ski practice.
Most teenagers Schwarz’s age aren’t yet seeking out needs around them and seeking out a solution to meet others’ needs. Luckily for DTEMS, they have a special individual with a big heart in Marley Schwarz.