OMIS students celebrated as newly published authors

Published 4:33 pm Monday, December 6, 2021

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NORTH SHELBY – Becoming a published author is not an easy process, but on Friday, Dec. 3, Oak Mountain Intermediate School celebrated 47 students who earned the prestigious title.

Surrounded by their parents, fifth-grade students in Chaney Klein’s and Jennifer Colburn’s homeroom classes saw the books featuring their writing for the first time during a publishing party.

The subjects of the students’ stories in the “Kleiburn Museum of Art” book originated from their recreations of famous paintings, which were displayed in the school and went viral on social media when OMIS shared the photos.

“Your students have put in so many hours into this work, and we can definitely tell by looking at their pictures, which you will see in just a moment and that you also helped with as well,” Klein said, thanking parents for their involvement in the project. “We are very excited for these students today.”

Liam Elliott said he was excited to open the book and see his and his classmates’ stories all together.

“I think it’s really good,” Elliott said.

His parents, Candice and Rush Elliott, said they were impressed with the students’ creativity.

“They’re going to love that when they get older,” Candice added about the book. “Everybody did a really good job.”

Sam Brandt said he enjoyed working on the project.

“I remember when we did this, I didn’t realize what a big deal it was going to be,” Brandt’s mother, Holly Ingram, said. “I’m extremely impressed.”

Klein said she had long wanted to try the project, and the COVID-19 pandemic actually presented an opportunity for it.

“Years ago, I had seen pictures of people who had recreated in a comedic way famous art pieces, and I always said I want to do that,” Klein said. “My first time I actually did this was during the quarantine. When everyone was sent home, it was an optional activity.”

The response was so good that Klein decided to revisit it once in-person instruction returned.

“I knew when I had students back in the classroom, we were going to take it by full force,” she said. “We started with the pictures, and then from that went into researching the time period, even the names of people back in that time and what was going on in the world. We then moved on to inferring what they may have been thinking at that moment, and from that we created a story, and each story teaches a moral or lesson.”

In addition to copies of their book, students received trophies and congratulations from Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dr. Lewis Brooks.

“We are so thankful for this opportunity and so proud of the work these guys have done,” Brooks said. “This is an exciting day. It is a great thing to see the creativity and imagination of our students come to life.”

OMIS Principal Dr. Laura Junkin recognized Klein and Colburn for orchestrating the project and applauded the students for their hard work.

“I think it’s been pretty impactful for the students,” she said. “It’s so exciting for them.”

Student Ava Wilson presented a copy of the book to Brooks at the conclusion of the party.

“I think it’s really rewarding to see students have something physical in their hand that reflects their hard work,” Klein said, and added the project is proof that “history can be fun.”