For seven weeks, 20 Loudonville third graders participated in an after-school writing club developed by Shaker High School junior, Will Hartl.
Hartl, who attended Loudonville during his elementary school years, planned and led the writing program after taking a fall semester class at Shaker called “Shaker Writing Center, Writer’s Workshop.” As part of his coursework with English teacher Mrs. Matrose, Hartl researched and developed a series of lessons and activities designed to motivate and engage young writers. The end goal was for students to write their own original story.
Loudonville School librarian, Mrs. Gersztoff, supported the program during its duration, attending the sessions and assisting with the coordination of the after-school activity.
In addition, three Shaker High School students were instrumental in attending and working with the students in small groups: Skylar LaCoss, Emma Laberge, and Maryanna Lansing.
“Their enthusiasm for the writing that the students engaged in was motivating,” said Loudonville Principal Flynn. “The students loved having the attention and guidance from the “big kids”.”
During the final week of the club, students read their stories to an audience of family members and teachers. Hartl presented each student with a certificate to mark the end of the program.
“I hope they learned as much from me as I learned from them,” he said.
“This program was characterized by respect and generosity,” added Principal Flynn. “The collaborative environment Will and his peers created, was a safe place for students to take risks and have fun as creative writers. These elementary and high school students, and their teachers, represent the best of what we hope for in our community of learners.”