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Outstanding Tygers

Mansfield Senior High Students: Chadalyn Whitmore, and Dalton Riley are our Outstandning Tygers of November

A “free little library” is popping up soon on the square in Mansfield. The library will go up outside First United Methodist Church and be filled with free books for readers of all ages.

Dalton Riley recently completed the project as part of his studies in the construction and building trades program at Mansfield Senior High School. Riley is also working on a miniature free little library to place outside Third Street Family Health Services.

The Tyger Book Barn was commissioned by the Altrusa International of Mansfield.

Altrusa co-president Sally Gesouras said the chapter will regularly monitor the library and add more books as needed. The chapter has already secured 450 books.

“Literacy affects everything. Literacy affects how people live, work, play,” Gesouras said. “And I think it’s something a lot of people take for granted.”

Riley completed the project, dubbed the Tyger Book Barn, with help from instructor Greg Morris and fellow senior Chadalyn Whitmore.

Morris said Riley completed the lion’s share of the work last school year with some assistance from his teacher and classmates. Riley and Whitmore decorated the library over the summer, painting tiger stripes on the side and a tiger head logo on the front.

“I’m really creative and I have fun doing things like this,” Riley said. “It feels really good just knowing that other children can get books out of it and read.”

The little free library isn’t the only project in the program with a real-world application. Students are also building picnic tables for other buildings in the district and a tiny house complete with a fully functioning kitchen and bathroom. 

Nikia Fletcher, the district’s director of college and career readiness, said the Tyger Book Barn collaboration goes beyond providing real-world experience for students. It also supports one of the district’s primary goals for the future — enhancing literacy.

“I can't wait to ride past it so I can point it out to families — ‘See what my kids did?’ because I'm very proud of their work.”

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