FEAST on Writing

May 3, 2013

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Maya Angelou

Over one hundred families picnicked on the North Yard of Walden School on Thursday, May 2 to celebrate diversity and student writing at the annual FEAST (Families Eating And Storytelling Together).

“It is never too late to give up your prejudices” Henry David Thoreau

Sponsored by Walden’s Diversity Committee, this year’s “FEAST on Writing” allowed parents and guests to see the work of Walden School’s writing program through the lens of diversity, reminding families of Walden’s commitment to honoring the story that exists in every child, and using story as a bridge to understanding.

“I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort, where we overlap.” Ani DiFranco

As families enjoyed a picnic supper on a warm, spring night, student authors took turns reading their recent works. Writers from Kindergarten to Sixth Grade shared their writing on topics as diverse as family pets, camping trips, memories of young childhood, fiction, and non-fiction research essays.

“I have a self-made quote: Celebrate diversity, practice acceptance and may we all choose peaceful options to conflict.” Donzella Michele Malone

Kindergartener Saba Kolahdouzan started the storytelling with her story about a field trip to the aquarium. “We touched jellyfish and they felt like upside down plates. And they felt ticklish.”

“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” Maya Angelou

Another Kindergarten student, Sage Billock, narrated her impressions of the color blue. “Blue smells like blueberry muffins fresh from the oven. Blue tastes like toothpaste from the store. Blue feels like winning a first place ribbon. Blue looks like sparking stars that shine in the night sky. Blue sounds like dolphins playing and splashing around in the ocean.”

“Diversity and independence are important because the best collective decisions are the product of disagreement and contest, not consensus or compromise.”
James Surowiecki

Twenty student writers spoke at the open mic event before sixth graders Daniella Gersh and Rowan Bortz concluded the readings with an excerpt from their respective essays – “Pop Music: Self-Centered?” and “Culture: Limitations and Boundaries of Personal Culture.”

“The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being YOU: they are unique manifestations of the human spirit.”  Wade David

Students and teachers then celebrated in the classrooms with publishing parties of each class anthology. At Walden School, writing is a life-long process during which students and teachers continually lift the level of writing and outgrow themselves as writers.

“As you discover what strength you can draw from your community in this world from which it stands apart, look outward as well as inward. Build bridges instead of walls.” Sonia Sotomayor

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