By Jackie Trexler, first year AmeriCorps member on the Gossler Park Elementary School team supported by Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Lincoln Financial
What's inside the hidden treasure chest? What idea or thing needs to have its own holiday? Where would you travel back in time to?
Write On fever is sweeping the halls at Gossler Park Elementary School. Students have been enthusiastically writing, creating, and submitting to our monthly writing competition ever since the first prompt, "imagine you were stranded on a deserted island and found a hidden treasure..." was rolled out in November. Six students thus far have been crowned Write On Champions for their winning pieces, and many more are soon to follow. Who will be next?
Truthfully, I didn't expect Write On to be such a huge hit. Every day of the week, students run up to me in the morning asking "did you get my Write On?" or "when are you announcing the winners?" or "when is the new Write On going to be announced?" Their excitement genuinely took me by surprise, and the creativity and heart they put into their submissions amazes me every month.
Our two winners for the January prompt about travelling back in time stand out to me in particular. One student, a quiet fifth grader, wrote about how she would go back in time to the exact day and time of her mom's twelfth birthday. Since she had her twelfth birthday coming up, she wanted to make sure her mom had an awesome and memorable twelfth birthday, too. The other winner, an avid fourth grade writer, wrote about how she would travel back in time to meet U.S. president Franklin Roosevelt and teach him about the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Kids so he could write them into law. These two students, and many more, have amazed me beyond words with their enthusiasm and eagerness to do something that we as adults don't think all that much about—write.
How often do we as adults get silly-excited about writing in the way these kids do? Is this energy and enthusiasm only something people under the age of thirteen can access? When was the last time you felt so motivated to make the magic in your brain happen on a page?
To me, Write On has been more than just a City Year New Hampshire initiative I coordinate at Gossler Park. It's a monthly cycle of creativity and celebration for the students, teachers, parents, and everyone else in our community. Writing as self-expression, as an outlet for creativity, shapes my students into more confident, passionate, and positive individuals. I think that as adults, enthusiasm for writing, without fear of spelling something wrong or not being professional enough, is something that we could participate in more too. All of us, no matter our age or ability, could use reminders of our own magic, mystery, and genius.
So, in honor of National Poetry Month, and in honor of the magic that happens every month here at Gossler Park, I encourage you to answer this question:
What's inside the treasure chest?
Write On is a City Year New Hampshire designed and coordinated creative writing initiative led by each team’s Literacy Coordinator at all eight of our partner schools with the goal to get more students actively engaged in creative expression through writing in response to a monthly prompt.