Tenth graders from Ms. Morrison and Ms. Stangland’s English class, with the help of the program, 826 Valencia, will be celebrating the release of their book, “We All Belong”, on May 23 at the Beat Museum at 6:30pm. The book is a compilation of stories of personal struggles that students have faced. Students hope that with their stories they will be able to inspire other young people to write and share personal experiences.
Both Ms. Morrison and Ms. Stangland know the students worked extremely hard on the project and also know that these types of opportunities don’t come around very often. Ms. Stangland said,”Good writing takes an extended amount of time to focus and sit and have a solid attention span, with that said the writing process was long and challenging for many students.” Ms. Morrison added, “Very rarely do you get an opportunity to write about yourself… have something in print to keep forever that immortalizes students.”
Not only did Ms. Stangland and Ms.Morrison feel like the students get a great opportunity through publishing their stories, but the teachers also felt like they learned a lot about their students as well. Ms. Stangland states, “Student writing reveals so much about their lives because they used their life to inform what they write about…and I got to hear a lot of beautiful things about their life and their experiences. It’s what I love about being an English teacher.”
Students were aided not only by Ms. Morrison and Ms. Stangland, but also with the help of tutors, provided by 826 Valencia. The tutors helped students work through ideas of both fiction and non-fiction to help put the collection of stories together. When asked if the tutors 816 valencia provided were helpful Elizabeth W., from Ms. Stangland’s class, states,”I would say the tutors were very helpful. The tutor I had was easy to talk to; she was relatable and she really helped me write the book and come up with ideas.”
In addition to the tutors that 826 Valencia provided to the students, 826 and Ms. Morrison also invited Luis Rodriguez (the author who wrote who wrote the memoir, “Always Running”) to get involved. Mr. Rodriguez wrote the forward to the students publication, to help bring a larger thematic voice to the work.
Mr. Rodriguez was also given access to the students work and the students writing process. He was more than happy to have a chance to collaborate with the Galileo writers. He said,”young people are so vital for everybody…for the community …I help in anyway i can and i think older people can don that if they respect young people…if they listen to them and understand them and that’s what I want to do so I’m glad to be able to do this. ”
Students from both classes are excited about the opportunity to share their writing with the public. Zarie H. from Ms.Morrison’s class, states,”It was fun…very fun cause instead of going to class everyday we got to write something that, to us, made a difference and it’s going to get published; and I feel very good about that.” Gennessis G., from Ms. Stangland’s class, stated, “honestly this gave me an outlet to really express myself and really like tell my story to the world.“