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

Standing before assembled peers, parents, and faculty, the students shared their creative work, written and rewritten over weeks. A 1st or 8th grader? In both: a proud audience, anxious writers, fully invested teachers, a student-written “About the Author,” and a published work. The differences: only the sophistication of the writing and the complexity of Middle School emotions.

In April, 8th graders read different styles of poetry, including odes, villanelles, ekphrastic, and persona. Each student then wrote and revised a poem in each of these styles. After workshopping and editing, students produced final copies and selected their best single poem to include in the 8th grade poetry anthology, which was “unveiled” at the start of the reading event held on May 30.

Some students chose to revisit odes written in 6th grade English with Oveta Willie-Jenkins from new perspectives.

Waleed Saleh ’25 wrote an ode to olives that began:

The tree juts out / of the ground / And into the air / Its branches reaching out / Creating a canopy / resembling an umbrella…

Andrew Burke ’25 composed a villanelle about Georgetown Day School, excerpted below:

At the intersection of work and play
You hear children talking and laughing when
You enter the doors of Georgetown Day
Each classroom is a knowledge buffet
For all to learn at their own pace
At the intersection of work and play

Add a small point in the Milky Way
A new campus is built
At the intersection of work and play
You enter the doors of Georgetown Day

Just a day before the eloquent poetic voices of our 8th graders filled the Middle School, 1st grade writers read their published books aloud to families and faculty. Published at the culmination of their year in Writers’ Workshop, these stories provide unique looks into the lives of six- and seven-year-olds. First grade teacher Skylé Pearson explained, “The rigorous creative writing program has included lessons on personal narratives, character, setting, sequencing, usage of relevant details and adjectives, hooks and leads, onomatopoeia, closing sentences, and what we like to call 'wow pictures' or supporting illustrations. The stories are the final product of a process of drafting, revising, peer conferencing, more revising, teaching conferencing, editing, and finally illustrating and publishing.”

From the start of their time at the GDS Lower/Middle School to the end, students learn the craft of storytelling. Teachers support students in developing their voices, encouraging them to be in charge of the stories they tell about themselves. From 1st to 8th grade, between the bookends of our writing curriculum, students learn not only how to communicate clearly and powerfully but also come to understand that their voice—poetic or otherwise—matters.

  • Communicate
  • Middle School
Young students with books they wrote.

Teachers read an About the Author written by each student that contained such treasures as “Parker also wrote The Sleepover with Eli” and “Julia got inspired because she has the best teachers in the world!!” Truly they do!