School Winners «WriteOn!» Receive Books with Their Stories


On April 17, 2019 the 14 school winners of the Write On! creative writing competition received books featuring their stories. Compiled by Peace Corps Response Volunteer Sonia Scherr and Vice Principal Nadiya Ananieva, the book examines the role of creative writing in helping students become more proficient users of English. Sonia, who served as a local coordinator for Write On!, presented students with copies of the book, titled Language Learning through Creative Writing at School, at an assembly on Friday. Here is Sonia’s speech at the ceremony in the Assembly Hall:

I’m thrilled to present copies of a book featuring the winning stories from the Write On! competition at Cherkasy First City Gymnasia. First, though, I want to thank the many people who made the book possible.

The student Write On! winners took the time to meet with me and correct the grammar and spelling mistakes in their stories. Vlad, FCG’s technician, took wonderful photos of the students to include in the book. Oleg Cheh, the teacher of information technology, helped with the book’s design and layout. Olena Omelianenko provided assistance with many tasks as we got the book ready for publication. I especially want to thank Vice Principal Nadiya Ananieva; she had a big vision for this book, and she made it reality through her hard work and support at every stage of the process.

We want this book to be a resource for language teachers at First City Gymnasia. In addition to the student stories, this book contains ideas for incorporating creative writing into your lessons. As the book’s title suggests, I believe that this kind of imaginative writing can help students strengthen their English skills by challenging them to work with the language in sophisticated ways. At the same time, creative writing gives students an opportunity to develop skills such as creativity and critical thinking, which have benefits beyond the language classroom. Because there’s already a lot to cover every day, this book provides suggestions for activities that don’t have to take a lot of class time or preparation. We hope they’re useful.

Above all, however, this book is for the student authors whose stories appear in it. Writing is about communication. It is about sharing what is important to you — and not just sharing it with your teachers or with the judges of the Write On! competition, but also with the larger world. This book will help you do that. It also will allow your work to be read again and again. A lot of our writing goes away: the texts we write to friends, the assignments we do in our copybooks, even the emails we send. But when writing is published in a book, that writing does not go away. It becomes permanent. And that means our words can reach many people and make a difference in the world. I plan to take my copy of this book with me wherever I go in the future, and I look forward to rereading your stories and sharing them with others.