Making history

E.O. Muncie students
to publish, sell history book

Book to be available during
the Block Party on June 12

By Lela Jane Bradshaw
Contributing Writer

Madison Bicentennial Logo

(June 2009) - The students at E.O. Muncie Elementary School in Madison have a special role to play in the upcoming Bicentennial celebration. Not only have they spent the past school year learning about the history of their own hometown, but they have also been writing their very own book about Madison and its past.
While many adults may dream about writing a book “someday,” the work of several Muncie students is currently being bound at the Bloomington, Ind., publishing company, Pen and Publish. The book is the cumulation of many months of work on the part of both students and teachers.
“We’ve been working on it since the first day of school basically,” said Becky Staab, who serves as the Families as Partners coordinator at E.O. Muncie. “Every classroom wrote something for the book.”

E.O. Muncie students

Photo by Don Ward

E.O. Muncie students who have helped
write a history book are: (front row
from left) Brick Boldery, Arial Hall,
Brienna Miller, Tucker Adams. (back row
from left) Vance Neace, Caitlyn Brooks,
Lesley Reverman, Kristen Garrett.

The collection of writings will be available at the Bicentennial Block Party, taking place from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. June 12 in the 100-300 block of West Main Street in downtown Madison. The book will be sold for $13 each. Plans are in the works to make the anthology available in downtown stores, and copies will also be for sale through the school. Staab reports that the book will run between 180-225 pages and will include old photographs in addition to the students’ poems. The works appearing in the student anthology have been selected from the writings of the appropriately 570 children attending E.O. Muncie Elementary School in grades kindergarten through fifth.
Staab credits E.O. Muncie principal Joyce Imel with the initial idea for the book. Imel met with one of the founders of Pen and Publish, Paul Burt, and saw the possibilities for the publication of a student-written book. With the growing anticipation for the Madison Bicentennial, a book focusing on the children’s interpretation of their community and its history was a perfect fit.
Staab explains that the focus of the poetry project has been “meeting goals for improving reading and writing.” With the plan to publish a physical book, the students had a concrete goal to aim toward. In becoming a part of the Bicentennial Celebrations, the students saw how their words could impact those outside their classrooms.
By working on the continuing project, students were able to take their work through the various stages of the writing process. The students saw their writing progress from the initial idea to the poems on the page. The end result is the reward of seeing their own words in print.
While working on the collection, students had plenty to inspire them. “Poets were brought in to the school,” says Staab, and these writers gave talks on the art of writing and read from their own original works.
As part of the project, some of the classes took trips to downtown Madison. These explorations gave the students a chance to visit noted sites and buildings and learn more about the history around them.
The students all wrote “something about Madison and Madison’s history,” says Staab. While the book itself commemorates the past, the lessons learned through the process of writing it are certain to stay with students far into the future.

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