New Castle News

June 6, 2012

Photos, Story: Laurel students receive book about 50 states they spent months writing

Becca Stanek
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Excited whispers, big smiles and brightly colored balloons filled the Laurel Elementary School lobby.

As 98 fourth-graders filed in for the Book Release Ceremony, eyes widened at the first glimpse of the stacks of published books and the sign reading, “Every Child an Author.”

After months of research, writing and editing, the students’ own work has been compiled and published into the book “Our 50 States!”

Following brief introductions and congratulations from Dr. Harold Dunn, senior high school principal for academic affairs, and a few of the fourth-grade teachers, the moment students had been awaiting finally arrived.

“I know you had to work hard and it didn’t come easy,” Dunn said to the students. “You had to follow the six-step process of researching your assigned state and person, creating a graphic organizer, writing a rough draft, writing your own autobiography, editing your work and typing it on the computer. This is so exciting.”

The students began the writing process in the fall and worked on it until Christmas, when they turned it into the publishing company, Every Child an Author. Students’ photos were taken by Clark Studios, and the project was funded by the Laurel Board of Education. This is the fourth annual publication.

Following introductory remarks, each student was called to the front of the assembly, where he or she received a copy of the book, wrapped in newspaper, and explained the subject of his or her article. The 104-page book features a description of each of the 50 states, along with biographies of famous figures from each of the states.

Once books were in hand, the students sat down to open their books together.

“10...9...8...,” counted down fourth-grade teacher Todd Cole.

Loud shrieks and the rustling of pages then filled the lobby as students searched through their books to find their stories.

“Wow!,” shouted one student.

“Hey I found yours — wait, there’s mine!” another exclaimed.

Referring to the wrapping paper of the book, another fourth-grader joked, “I should save this newspaper for my mom to read.”

One student, Ethan Stoner, chose a particularly challenging subject, Sergeant Ivy Boots Thomas Jr. Ernest, one of the six U.S. Marines to raise the first flag on Iwo Jima during World War II.

“I don’t really like school that much, but this was a fun project,” Ethan said. “I worked hard to research because it was hard to find all of the information.

“I chose to write about Thomas Ernest because I had relatives in World War II. When I grow up, I want to be in the army.”

Another student, Dylan Aquaro, chose to write about baseball player Jackie Robinson.

“I chose that topic because I love sports,” Aquaro said. “I learned a lot from this. I knew he was a baseball player but I did not know he was the first African American to play.

“I learned about the civil rights movement. It was really cool when I opened the book and saw my story for the first time.”

(Email: rstanek@ncnewsonline.com)