West Intermediate students get published
Twenty Jenks West Intermediate students became published authors last month.
For the third year, students at West Intermediate wrote books and published them for check out in the library as part of National Novel Writing Month.
Students prepared to write their book in October and, as part of ‘NaNoWriMo,’ they had to complete the writing of their books in November. December was spent editing and revising the books.
Once they were complete, students went before their principal in a mock publisher meeting to pitch their books.
“The feeling of accomplishment is very gratifying for me to see,” gifted coordinator Alicia Gillean said. “They go from thinking, ‘I can’t write 10 pages,’ to, ‘I just wrote 200 pages.’ I love seeing them push themselves and stretch themselves and have a creative outlet they don’t really have any other way.”
The group of 20 is the largest to participate in three years. Through the program, students not only learn grammar and writing skills, but public speaking and other real-world experiences.
Peyton Richardt is in the fifth grade. Her book is called “Shadow Hunting” and it’s about a girl whose sister was taken by people when she was young. When she’s forced to leave her home, she finds herself running away from the same people who took her sister.
“My favorite part was the imagination; I could have gone anywhere with my book,” Peyton said. “I didn’t have to be in this tiny box, I could just do whatever.”
But it wasn’t always fun for everyone.
Isabella Droemer is also in the fifth grade. Her book, titled “Courage”, is about a boy and his younger sister who discover the fate of the world is in their hands. They have to destroy an evil kingdom and if they don’t, the world as they know it will be destroyed in turn.
Isabella found herself in trouble when she caught a case of writer’s block.
“I was in the middle of a chapter and I just sat there and thought, ‘what do I do?’ I couldn’t figure out anything. I had to take a break for three hours. I went back to the computer multiple times, but I didn’t have anything. I was so frustrated.”
So far, the books have been a hit. The first day they were available in the library, all books were checked out. There is currently a waiting list for each book.
The students have heard many good things about their books.
“Whenever I got off at the presentation my friend came up to me and said, “I’m reading your book first,’ and another said ‘no, I am.’ And that was pretty fun,” Peyton said.
Not only are these students getting the rare chance to write a book, they’re getting experience that will help them in other parts of life as well.
“I think it helps a lot with goal setting and how to reach your goal,” Gillean said. “It is not an easy task. I think it gives them a lot of confidence to know they can do hard things even when they think they can, they can push through and get there.”
“I think it takes a lot of confidence to sit down with an adult and talk about your book. A lot of opportunities to build public speaking skills and build confidence.”
Some are already seeing the benefits come to fruition.
“I’ve been setting more goals for myself,” Isabella said. “Walking my dog three times a week. It has definitely helped me, I’ve seen.”