This past week children’s author/publishers Jane Woods and Frances Keiser put together a presentation to reflect the spirit of Josh Crews and inspire the Flagler County 6th grade students who are participating in this years Writing Project anthology. The creative journey these students are traveling would not be possible without the dedication and love of their teachers and a community who has embraced this project with open arms.
I was fortunate to attend the presentation given at Phoenix Academy and found myself experiencing a bit of nostalgia as I was tucked away in a classroom that was teeming with pubescent energy. Recalling a memory from my 7th grade English class was of Josh seated to my left wearing a familiar green jacket clenching the novel Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I realized my heart was hoping these students would one day understand the opportunity they have been given. My hopes were answered when Jane Woods stated that “by participating in this project you students can call yourselves authors…authors for life!”
As the presentation unfolded, I witnessed an excitement starting to bubble when actual pages were shown in the mid printing/ book binding process and familiar titles were displayed as writing examples. When the students were asked what the purpose of writing was for they answered: to learn, to make people laugh and to express yourself. It was those responses and my own personal A-Ha moment when the Library of Congress photo was shown that I realized this published book would be included among its thousands of titles and leave an impression on some of their lives.
Blinking back tears I am beyond excited about being a part of something that will change and benefit the lives of others, however this moment is bittersweet as the major character in this story is not here to share it with me.
This past Writing Project fundraiser “A Night On Treasure Island” raised over $21,000.00, which will be placed into matching grant programs resulting in over 42 thousand dollars being contributed back into our county for education purposes. “Get Book Savvy” an author/publisher team who help get books published in a professional manner is leading the Josh Crews Writing Project. Each school in Flagler County is represented by a teacher who is tailoring the project to meet the needs of students wanting to participate. At the end of the school year we will have a published anthology of 6th grade writing complete with its own ISBN number and bar code. This will be celebrated with a book signing event that will include the children who participated but did not get the opportunity to be published. The wonderful teachers who are volunteering their time are: BTES Chris Tincher, Abbey Cooke, OKE Linda Fountain, Phoenix Sue Nobel, Rymfire Lindsay Tietje, WES Jennifer Carroll, and BES Doug Glasco. Maggie Mejia, a longtime friend of Josh is the wonderful coordinator of this project and Deborah Williams who is the executive of the Flagler Education Foundation makes it all happen. If you would like more info or to make a tax deductible donation please feel free to contact Carla Cline at FlagleSurf.firstname.lastname@example.org.