CMS students become published writers

Students, teachers, and special guests present new anthology, Wildcat Dreams, at CMSPrincipal Dr. Kerry Rush; teachers Tony Crunk, Elizabeth Birdsong and Richard Scott; students Nathan Bates, Gaylon Beasley, Ty Beasley, Katelyn Bevard, Johnathan Boyle, SkyAnna Bramlett, Dalton Brooks, Anna Brown, DaShun Bush, McKenzie Callahan, Jasmine Carrillo, Sam Cox, Jeremiah Crenshaw, Bethany Dickerson, Emily Dickerson, Gracie Driskell, Tyler Echols, Blake Elliott, Tanner Falkner, Jose Flores, Skyler Fowler, Megahnn Freeman, Summer Gaddy, Ryan Harvard, David Hazel, Auston Hodges, Brian Hodges, Brad Horton, Claire Jones, Jacob Jones, Hunter Light, Hannah Kate Littleton, Katelyn Lucas, Cory Martin, Ben McMickens, Janet Monroy,  Katlyn Morgan, O'Dell Newton, Emily Norton, Brock Phillips, Rebeca Ramirez, Travis Reynolds,  Emilee Robertson, Austin Sanders, Austin Scott, Ashlyn Smith, Cali Smith, Michael Smith, Taylor Stallworth, Kameron Stripling, Charlie Taylor, Aylissa Truss, Joel Vaughn, Sabrina Vickery, Nevada Wages, Jacob Walton, Dayli Wood;  Jeanie Thompson, executive director Alabama Writers' Forum; Marlin Barton, assistant director AWF, and Bruce Andrews, SCAC executive director. (Contributed)

Students, teachers, and special guests present new anthology, Wildcat Dreams, at CMSPrincipal Dr. Kerry Rush; teachers Tony Crunk, Elizabeth Birdsong and Richard Scott; students Nathan Bates, Gaylon Beasley, Ty Beasley, Katelyn Bevard, Johnathan Boyle, SkyAnna Bramlett, Dalton Brooks, Anna Brown, DaShun Bush, McKenzie Callahan, Jasmine Carrillo, Sam Cox, Jeremiah Crenshaw, Bethany Dickerson, Emily Dickerson, Gracie Driskell, Tyler Echols, Blake Elliott, Tanner Falkner, Jose Flores, Skyler Fowler, Megahnn Freeman, Summer Gaddy, Ryan Harvard, David Hazel, Auston Hodges, Brian Hodges, Brad Horton, Claire Jones, Jacob Jones, Hunter Light, Hannah Kate Littleton, Katelyn Lucas, Cory Martin, Ben McMickens, Janet Monroy, Katlyn Morgan, O’Dell Newton, Emily Norton, Brock Phillips, Rebeca Ramirez, Travis Reynolds, Emilee Robertson, Austin Sanders, Austin Scott, Ashlyn Smith, Cali Smith, Michael Smith, Taylor Stallworth, Kameron Stripling, Charlie Taylor, Aylissa Truss, Joel Vaughn, Sabrina Vickery, Nevada Wages, Jacob Walton, Dayli Wood; Jeanie Thompson, executive director Alabama Writers’ Forum; Marlin Barton, assistant director AWF, and Bruce Andrews, SCAC executive director. (Contributed)

By Phoebe Donald Robinson / Community Columnist

Something very special happened at Columbiana Middle School. Fifty-eight seventh graders became published writers with their new poem anthology, “Wildcat Dreams,” edited by Tony Crunk.

Four the last four years, the Shelby County Arts Council, in collaboration with the Alabama Writers’ Forum and the Shelby County School System, have brought the program “Writing our Stories” to CMS, the only public school in Alabama to have this pilot program.

Led by highly acclaimed poet, children’s author and winner of the Yale Poets Award, Crunk teaches students to believe in themselves that they can write. And they do.

“I want the students to be more open and comfortable with their writing skills,” said Crunk. “For me, it is fulfilling process to spark and inspire a student’s mind.”

SCAC won the 2013 Impact Award from the Alabama Alliance for Arts Education for this program, “given to an organization for outstanding commitment and dedication to children and the arts for innovative and creative programming, curriculum, teaching and/or presenting.”

SCAC is committed to bringing the arts to Shelby County student and adults in as many ways as possible to enrich our community.

“Research confirms that participation in arts programs such as this significantly enhances students’ overall academic skill,” said Crunk. “More importantly, students gain practice, and confidence, in using creativity as an invaluable life-skill. The writing process, by which we imagine a goal and work toward it, while discovering and exploring new possibilities along the way, is a rich model for living a rewarding, fruitful life.”

The anthology “Wildcat Dreams” was presented at a student assembly attended by the student body, family and friends. Teachers Richard Scott and Elizabeth Birdsong presented the books to the writers. Special guest speakers were: Dr. Kerry Rush, CMS principal; Jeanie Thompson, executive director Alabama Writer’s Forum, Inc.; Bruce Andrews, SCAC executive director; and teaching writer Crunk.

Students who read their poems from the anthology Wildcat Dreams were: Gaylon Beasley, Jeremiah Crenshaw, Emily Dickerson, Tanner Falkner, Hannah-Kate Littleton, Katelyn Lucas, O’Dell Newton and Taylor Stallworth.

About Phoebe Donald Robinson

I am President of Donald Real Estate and Ins. Co., Inc., a company that my grandfather , Charles J. Donald, founded in 1925. I am the third generation owner of the business. I am also the Columbiana Columnist for the Shelby County Reporter.

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