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HomeNewsArchivesCreativity Hits the Printed Page at Student Writing Camp

Creativity Hits the Printed Page at Student Writing Camp

Aug. 6, 2007 — Budding authors got a chance to hone their skills and stimulate their creative process recently at a summer writing camp, part of a national effort to develop creative ways to encourage students to write.
"Writing is such an amazing thing to do," said 9-year-old Keira Kinney. "It's hard to explain the feeling you get when you take a blank piece of paper and a pencil and create a story."
The Country Day School student attended the Young Writers’ Camp, sponsored by the V.I. Writing Project (VIWP), with about 20 peers. Like Kinney, the other students expressed a love for writing, not only employing their skills in the classroom but also during their leisure time, just for fun.
"Writing helps me express my thoughts and feelings," said 10-year-old Addisha Heskey. The Ricardo Richards Elementary School fifth grader said she writes stories in school but likes "to make up stories on my own."
The Young Writer’s Camp is an extension of the National Writing Project and the Invitational Summer Institute, held each summer around the United States and the Virgin Islands.
"We were all in the midst of future authors," said YWC Coordinator Janice Ferdinand. Calling the experience "amazing," Ferdinand said the camp was an active process where students used their "life stories, (the) animated world and creativity," to create stories.
In preparation for the camp, VIWP’s local director, Valerie Combie, challenged educators on St. Thomas and St. Croix. She encouraged them to collaborate with their colleagues. They worked together in sessions, researching strategies to stimulate students to write by getting teachers themselves to write first. After completing the sessions, the teachers become "teacher consultants" and presented workshops at the camp.
Guiding the young writers along with Ferdinand were teacher consultants Veronica Prescott, Rosetta Lawrence, Kimberly Oliver and Esther Burroughs. The St. Thomas-based Community Foundation funded the camp.
Several guest speakers added to the young writers’ experience on St. Croix. Local author and photographer Denise Bennerson showed students how photography and writing could be combined for visual impact. Kimberly Oliver, VIWP’s technical liaison, assisted students in creating digital stories using their original drawings, photographs and audio to write a biography or mini-documentary of their lives.
Teachers used a wide variety of tools and methods to stimulate the creativity of the students. They engaged students in writing marathons, nature walks, origami art, paintings, tie-dyeing, ice-cream making and cultural arts and crafts celebrations. As such, students wrote in varying writing styles, including poetry, dialogues through puppetry, story writing, songwriting, acrostic and playwriting.
In mid July, the St. Croix students showcased their writing and artistic projects in a ceremony held on the UVI campus. Parents attending the final showcase walked into a gallery of various writings. Each student presented a selection of their writing as well as their digital story. Students were presented with a certificate of completion, a writer’s anthology and a writer’s journal.
Along with Heskey and Kinney, other young writers included Geanaly Anslyn, CeReyna Bougouneau, Kedisha Charles, Makeja Christmas, Felicia Daniel, Julissa Daniel, Jose Felix, Yolanda Felix, Jahzre Francis, Aron Hatchett, Zamaria Henry, Naveida Huggins, Wilfredo Perez, Abigail Poleon, Misha Williams and Rashanika Williams.
Here are some samples of the young writers’ work:

Keira Kinney, age 9

Once upon a time there was an island called Tiki Wiki, which meant Trash Island. There were people there as well as animals. They all got along. Well, at least the animals got along with the other animals and the people got along with the other people; however, the people and the animals did not get along. The reason they did not get along was because the Tiki Wiki people littered their homes and they watched angrily while they did it, too.
So the King called a meeting, “How do you feel about this? Everyone spoke at once. “SILENCE!!” he roared. Mr. Frog raised his hand. “I feel disappointed about this nonsense.” “Then we shall make a plan.” The king roared. Baby monkey raised her hand, “How about letting them know how it feels. Let’s pick up all the trash and put it in their homes.” “Brilliant!” said the king. “Meet me at the great oak tree at midnight.”
While the animals were picking up the trash and putting it into woven baskets the king took all the snakes and used their pointy tails to unlock the doors. The next day the people were surprised and they thought that their fake God Nodo Tiki was telling them to trash the place again, but the Major saw how pretty it was and told them, “No.” So from that day on, there never was a piece of trash on the ground again.
If I Were a Butterfly
By Kedisha Charles, age 10

If I were a butterfly, I would fly very high, but try to stay away from frogs. I would land on flowers and suck the nectar out of them all day long. One thing for sure is that I would have to stay away from the dangers of people’s hands. They might hold me tightly and won’t let me breathe properly. This is what happened one day:
I was flying around sucking the nectar from flowers. When I got tired, I decided to head home. Then, I saw a girl’s hand opening and closing behind of me. I tried to fly away as fast as my little wings would carry me. Soon, I found myself between the fingers of the girl’s hands. I told her, “Don’t squeeze me, please, do not, I have sensitive wings.” She still squeezed me, but not so tight enough that my wings broke. I took this chance to escape quickly. When I went back to the butterfly village, I gathered all the other butterflies and made a speech about why you should be aware of humans. From then on no one was caught in the grasp of human’s hands.

By Felicia Daniel, age 9

Trees, Trees, beautiful trees,
Wonderful trees that help us breathe.
How do they grow?
I always wanted to know.
Do trees help us glow?
Think about trees,
Think about the leaves,
Think about the trees you have never seen.
Bees are happy in the trees,
Everything is happy,
Trees give flowers and beauty to others.
Coconut trees, palm trees are natural to be seen,
Look at them until dawn,
It’s like the beautiful patterns of a fern.
By Wilfredo Perez, age 11

Consecutive Celebrations that will blow you away,
Unimaginable tastes that our food brings everyday,
Laughing and Jumping when carnival time has come,
Thankful surprises that comes with Cruzan Rum,
United people that come with a plan,
Reliable and ready to help build our land,—-
The Tree Story
By Abigail Poleon, age 13

I am the special tree. Tall and slender is my nature.
People climb me to get what I have to offer.
They cling to me like jellybeans.
I am delicious in cakes, tarts, soups and dumpling too.
On a very hot day when you need something to drink,
Just pass by me and I will provide you with a sweet thirst quenching, refreshing water.
Come to me Mon, and I will give some meat to eat and water to drink.
Don’t worry coconut is by your side!
By Thuraia Sargeant, age 10

Flowers are SWEET SMELLING! They are bright and dark. Whenever I see them, I feel a spark. They are beautiful and wonderful, sometimes tall. Some are really tall, some are fake and some are fragile like glass that can break.
If you make them with thread they will not grow. If you make them with seeds they’ll grow in a flow. All I know is that they grow slow. When I look at a flower garden, I see a sunset with colors like a carpet.
As floral as they can be, they’re not always made by a seed.
Seeds might be hard but flowers are like stars! Flowers have powers to stay. Flowers are something which children can play with. It grows, in the sun, it is fun.
Flowers might be sweet smelling, some of them have bell shaped growths that look like bells ringing. Somewhere inside each flower they are all yelling for all of us to take care of them of them so they can continue to grow.

by Geanaly Anslyn, age 10

If I caught a butterfly, I think it would say, “Why won’t humans leave me alone?” They always trouble me even though I don’t trouble them. I flutter around all day taking trouble out of my way, but still they chase me and race me, so I cannot be free! If I could just fly away again, I would never come back into this place. As painful as it is, they won’t understand how a butterfly feels when it is in a human’s hand. If those wings get messy or crumble all around, I might faint and fall to the ground. If humans like us, why do they hurt us? I guess butterflies will never know.
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