Kathy Gonzalez is a high school English teacher at Woodside Priory School in California. Since last week, she’s been one of four chaperones accompanying 14 Priory students on their trip to Daraja Academy. All of the volunteers are having exciting experiences; Kathy is doing something especially cool. Since fall 2012, Kathy has been electronically communicating with Daraja, so that she could facilitate a writing project with the Form 2 and 3 girls. By the beginning of May, the Daraja girls had written three rough drafts on three different topics:
1) What is your full name? Who named you, what does it mean, and do you have any nicknames? “The Daraja girls had some hilarious nicknames!” Kathy said.
2) How did you learn about Daraja? What were your first impressions, and what were your fears? “Hearing the stories from the Daraja girls gave the Priory students chills. A couple of them were teared up from hearing the stories,” said Kathy.
3) Write about your family – what are the best, funniest, and most difficult things about your families?
Kathy, the Priory students, and the Daraja Form 2s gathered in class twice this past week, when they split into groups of three and held writing workshops for each other’s pieces. The experience, said Kathy, was “totally awesome!” “There was huge learning about each other’s lives and cultures, and huge excitement to keep the writing exercise going.” Priory is leaving Daraja tomorrow, and they’re sad to go, but the writing project will continue and will be overseen by Dianah and Yvonne (F2) and Euphrasia (F3), all of whom aspire to be writers. Kathy hopes, down the road, that everyone who participated in her workshop will have a chance to publish some of their work, either online or in print.
In addition to the creative writing workshop, Kathy also held a brief poetry workshop over the weekend. You may already know that Naomi, Form 3, is well-versed in poetry, as evidenced by her rap performance at last term’s talent show. But what you might not have known is that Naomi is also an incredible poet. Below is a scanned copy of the poem she wrote. We’re so impressed!