TORRINGTON – Imaginations were afire Tuesday morning, as Torrington High School (THS) creative writers regaled Valley Christian School (VCS) students with self-authored stories.
THS English teacher Travis Rapp said his creative writing class wrote and illustrated the children’s books with the VCS students in mind.
“I have a connection to (VCS), so it was easy and made sense for us to come down and share them there,” he explained. “We spent about three weeks working on these books. We have had them ready for a little while, but we wanted to time it with Christmas break, so we could give the young students our books as Christmas presents.”
Rapp said his family was the inspiration behind the project.
“Honestly, I was listening to my wife read books to our two sons one night when my class was working on short stories and getting ready to transition to poetry writing, and I just thought, ‘Why in the world are my students not writing children’s books?’” he recalled. “Over that night, I thought about Christmas and the impact high school students can have on young kids, and the idea was born. My administration was quick to support and help make it happen on our end, and I had the project going the next day in school.”
The project came to fruition this week, when small groups of VCS students huddled around the high schoolers, apparently thoroughly enjoying the special
Rapp said the event was mutually beneficial.
“One thing we know as educators, is one of the most important things we can do for our own children is read to them when they are young,” he said. “Not everyone has books in their homes, and we wanted to provide that service for some of the young students in our community.
“For my students, it gave them an opportunity to see what an author’s reading is like, share their work that they were proud of, and possibly start a new career in writing those always important children’s books,” he continued. “It also gave them an opportunity to write something they may have never even thought of writing before.”
Creative writing students Dakota Freouf, a senior, and sophomore McKenzie Caldwell agreed. The pair wrote a story about a glow bug and were happy to share with the young listeners.
“(I enjoy) working with the children,” Caldwell said.
“The kids are cute,” Freouf added. “It was a lot of fun” writing the book.
In the future, Rapp said he hopes to make the event a yearly endeavor.
“I had good feedback from my students, the VCS students, and the VCS staff,” he said. “It honestly made me wish we could offer creative writing each semester, so we could do it twice a year. I’m very proud of my students and the work they did.”