When Arria Walsh wrote a story about a family impacted by the 2010 Haiti earthquake, she wanted a few extra points in her fifth grade language arts class at Julius E. Sprauve School. She got that – as well as inclusion in Rotary E!’s yearly Butterfly Story Book publication.
Arria, 10, and Guy Benjamin School student Fritz Boynes III wrote two of the three submissions Rotary Club of St. John made to Rotary’s Internet Club, called Rotary E!, for the book. They competed against stories by 210 other students from across the Caribbean for the 10 spots in the book, which will be for sale at Amazon.
Arria, who was born in Dominica but recently lived for a year in Orange County, Calif., has no ties to Haiti but she said she heard about the earthquake when her father, Dominica resident Jerry Walsh, told her.
“I thought about how it would feel to lose a family member in Haiti,” she said.
Her story, called “The House of Love,” starts out with a wedding anniversary celebration at the Alexander’s house. The family got a phone call from relatives in Haiti that the earthquake had hit. The Alexanders, along with a Texas-based family member who had not been in contact because of a land dispute, all traveled to Haiti to help rebuild their house out what remained of the old one.
“It was in their rebuilding process that Mr. Alexander’s family healed from broken hearts,” Arria wrote.
She said her mother, Rhea Grell, pushed her to write the story.
Grell said she’s very proud of her daughter, who she said loves reading and is an excellent student.
“She’s very mature for her age. She takes on responsibility really well and likes challenges,” Grell said.
This is her first year at Sprauve, and she said she’s enjoying herself. The teachers are nice and she’s made some good friends.
As for her favorite subjects, she said she likes reading and language arts best.
Her reading teacher, Kalisha Mathurin, said Arria is an excellent student who’s eager to learn. Mathurin said she loves to write and read.
“She would pass for a model student,” Mathurin said.
When she’s not at school, Arria said she likes to write with chalk, read and play games with her cousins Trystein Pierre and Daniell Grell. Cousin Gabrielle Grell is still a baby, and Arria sometimes gets to babysit her.
Arria is also fond of beach parties, and said she likes ones at Hawsknest, Oppenheimer and Maho beaches.
“And sometimes I go to the pool at Mom’s workplace,” she said, referring to Grande Bay Resort.
She also takes piano and violin lessons, with several hours each day spent on practicing.
Arria said she likes to cook, with macaroni and cheese as well as shrimp her favorites.
While she enjoys music and cooking as hobbies, she has big plans for herself.
“I’d like to be a doctor or a dentist,” said.