Meadville Tribune

Local News

December 10, 2012

West End first-grader thinks giving, not receiving


VERNON TOWNSHIP — Now a ‘class act’

Despite her adamant desire to help those in need, Lilly Groover was originally reticent to share her letter with others, addressing it to relatives and of course, Santa Claus. Overcoming shyness, with the support of her family, she read her letter in front of her class Wednesday morning.

“We decided the best support would be to make it a class project to keep it between people she knows; she’s very humble about the whole situation,” said Simpson. “She gets it. She articulates how she wants to help and how important it is to help others on a global scale.”

Simpson plans to send order forms home with her students today, highlighting the letter’s eight items in order to fulfill Lilly Groover’s request, each of which is $20 or less.

“The kids are so excited to jump on board with donations and generosity,” she observed, pleased with the seasonal rollover of her class’ general teachings of kindness and support with emphasis on philanthropy.

Simpson plans to collect order forms from Dec. 10 to 21 to complete the project in time for holiday break.

“It’s really inspiring; not just for first-graders, but for everyone,” she concluded. “It reminds us what the holidays are really about.”

West End Elementary administrators and guidance counselors echoed Simpson’s remarks and expressed their pride in student initiatives to give back to their community as well as communities beyond.

“If we raise service-minded children at this age, we can count on them to serve in the future,” said Clark. “I think the general public would be surprised at how frequently our students open their hearts to help those in need.”

While Lilly still shies away from the recent publicity of her generous endeavor, her mother revealed her daughter’s happiness and excitement regarding the considerable response from both mentors and peers.

“Lilly is excited that others are going to help; it’s a wonderful thing that we never expected,” Susan Groover said. “And she still hasn’t asked for a Christmas present.”

Konstantine Fekos can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at

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