“Now I’m friends with the dead bear beside me,” said Montavious as he read Burger’s story.
Coming face-to-face with animals from around Rome at the E.C.O. River Education Center, middle school and high school students were challenged to tell the critters’ stories in their own eyes during the writers academy on Tuesday.
The academy, a joint partnership between Georgia Highlands College and 100 Black Men of Rome-NWGA, hosted approximately 16 students for the one-day creative writing workshop.
The students’ first assignment at the center was to select an animal in the building, a live one or a stuffed display, and write a fabricated story from its point of view. Nothing was off limits and they were encouraged to be as creative as possible.
Rome High freshman Amari Morgan, 14, sat next to a large stock tank and picked out a turtle that she named Murtle. Separated from her mom and older siblings, Murtle searched the Pacific Ocean for them. Her resulting depression caused her to eat everything in sight.
Amari said she enjoyed being able to see all different kinds of animals in the Rome area and they were inspiring to write about.
“I think writing stimulates the brain and develops an act for things,” said Amari.
Greg Shropshire, program director at 100 Black Men of Rome, visited with students as they focused on their writing pieces.
“I think we’re exposing them to what Rome has to offer,” said Shropshire. “By changing the scenery and just partnering with different organizations, we’re creating a better awareness and hopefully a better community.”
Jonathan Hershey, dean of humanities at GHC, said the goal of the program is to teach students basic skills and techniques that they can use to improve their writing.
“It’s something that can be fun and entertainment, as well as a skill,” said Hershey.
Jessica Lindberg, an English lecturer at GHC, hopes the students will ultimately take their newly learned skills into the classroom and get excited about writing, viewing it not as a chore, but as an extension of their self expression.