Nine Lady’s Island Elementary School students from the Storybuilders project had their poems chosen for publication in the Young American Poetry Digest competition. Photo courtesy of the Beaufort County School District.

Storybuilders Project leads to publication for Lady’s Island students

Staff reports

The creative writing efforts of nine Lady’s Island Elementary School (LIES) students will be featured in an upcoming national publication, the 2022 Young American Poetry Digest. Their writings center around the South Carolina state motto “While I Breathe, I Hope.”

These student works are the result of a creative writing project called “Storybuilders,” led by retired teacher Carol Dawson and the Pat Conroy Literary Center. Selected students in 1st, 3rd and 5th grades worked with volunteers, including authors, poets, and educators, to create poems, short stories, and one-act plays throughout the 12-week program. At the conclusion, the children’s work was published internally with a bound anthology of their work.

The students also held a presentation of selected readings and book signing for their peers, family, and dignitaries from the Pat Conroy Center.

“This project allowed our students a deep immersive experience with the arts,” LIES Principal Davina Coleman said in a news release. “The skills are so transferable to everyday life. We’re building great writers and hopefully we’ll inspire some of these students to choose writing, journalism, or screenwriting as a future career.”

The student poetry that emerged from the Storybuilders project was then submitted to the Young American Poetry Digest competition. Nine students had their work chosen for publication – Lucas Cardenas, Trey Dasher, Ashton Hinson, Owen Huang, Ja’Mya Rivers, Daniel Russell, Kamad Seabrooks-Gilbert, Gaberiel Singleton, and Christian Williams.

Poems were selected for inclusion based on creativity, age appropriateness, sensory/figurative language, structure, and poetic techniques.

LIES is the district’s original arts-infused school of choice. The school’s arts-infused programming and the work of the Pat Conroy Literary Center are made possible in part through grants from the South Carolina Arts Commission which receives funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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