Tuesday, March 13, 2012

from WJACTV.COM, excerpt

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

High school juniors write book for young tornado victims

By Melanie Gillespie


It has been almost a year since a tornado ripped through the town of Joplin, Missouri leaving a trail of destruction in its path.

One local school district did something for an elementary school whose students lost everything.

This was much more than any class project. A literature class of 11th graders decided to write, illustrate and print a children's book for kids at Irving Elementary in Joplin just in time for Christmas.

"And it was just something… Wow, these kids lost so much. We can give them something," junior Eden Mullins said.

"It started with a big idea, and then we realized how much work we were taking on," American Literature and Composition teacher Melissa Vello said.

Nearly 15 students and their teacher wrote Feather of a Friend in the matter of 15 days. They donated extra time to writing and revising it, and raising enough money to print at $4 a copy.

It taught students and instructors a lesson that you can't always learn from a textbook.

"I really saw how valuable the experience was for [all] of us, and we've all learned so much from it, and [I] think that's what education should be," Vello said.

"[It's] something I can actually look back on and say I'm really glad I did that, and it wasn't just for me," Mullins said.

"This is a real world thing. We helped these kids in need out, you get sort of an experience from that, you just can't get from anything else," another student said.

The kids from Irving Elementary got their copy the day before Christmas break. The students and teacher agree that this is something they would like to do in class every year.

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