BINGHAMTON, NY – Friends of the late Harper Stantz gathered at her former elementary today to celebrate the creation of a library in her honor.
Horace Mann School in Binghamton introduced “Harper’s Library” during an assembly attended by students in kindergarten through 2nd grade.
An online “bookraiser” started by Stantz family friend Liza Turner and her daughter Caroline generated nearly 2 thousand books that will be distributed to each classroom in the building in bins that are yellow, Harper’s favorite color.
She would have graduated from Binghamton High School this June.
As a tribute to her, the senior class donated a copy of “I Am Love” for each classroom to have as well.
“This book represents her and she went here, we all went here. We all just kind of grew up here so I think that having it here was a really good place to have it,” says Harper’s friend Kirsten George.
“We just kind of came up with the idea. It was originally going to be something small and then everyone loved the idea and it turned into this, which is awesome,” says Harper’s friend Caroline Turner.
“I’ll always remember her as just the girl that’s always happy. If you’re in a bad mood and she walks in the room, she’ll light up your life,” says Harper’s friend Claire Rennia.
Roughly a dozen high school seniors read books to the younger children.
Each kid pre-K through 2nd grade also got a book to take home.
Harper’s parents Marty and Patty Stantz were at the celebration.
Patty says Harper loved to listen to the same books read over and over.
“I think any parent who goes through the tragedy of losing a child wants the memory of their child to be kept alive. And this community is really doing an amazing job of keeping her spirit alive. So, we’re honored, blessed,” says Harper’s mother, Patty Stantz.
Today marks one year since Harper and a friend were struck by an SUV while walking home from Rec Park in the afternoon.
She died 2 days later.