Dublin Villager

StoryBox Project

Scioto students' writings to be shared throughout world

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

The writings of a few Dublin Scioto High School students are going global.

Scioto English Language Learning Teacher Jennifer Mitchell is using the StoryBox Project to get students interested in reading and telling their stories to the world.

The StoryBox Project sends boxes of stories to schools throughout the world to share experiences and stories.

Mitchell learned about it during the summer from creator Kevin Cordo who happened to be running the Columbus Area Writing Project workshop.

"He brought several of (the story boxes) to the Columbus Area Writing Project and explained the project to us," Mitchell said.

"I and several others signed up to have it in my class," Mitchell said.

"When we're finished it will travel on to several other classrooms in the central Ohio area ... . It will go all around the world."

At Scioto, Mitchell works with students new to America who are learning to speak, read and write in English.

"It's a great opportunity for my students," she said.

"They're all ELL learners. Reading and writing in English tend to be very difficult for them or not the most interesting thing," Mitchell said.

"I want to do everything I can to get them excited about reading and writing.

"They can see that writing is something real and that it is something people actually do and use to connect to each other," she said.

"They'll see that they can write something that can be read all over the world."

Freshman Saki Nishizawa said she is excited for people to read her story about Japan, while others are a little apprehensive. The StoryBox Project allows others to provide feedback and contact writers regarding their stories.

"I'm a little nervous because everyone will read the story and what they will think about it," said Azran Hasana, a sophomore.

Uzbekistan-born junior Vladimir Gudenkov is planning to write about coming to America from Russia and is submitting other work as well.

"I'm going to put some pictures in there too," Gudenkov said. "I like drawing."

Sophomore Len Tysen plans to write about the differences between school in America and Japan while Medo Alabbood will write about sports, life and friends. The sophomore is from Iraq, but came to America from Egypt two months ago.

"I think it's fantastic," Alabbood said of the StoryBox Project. "It's talking about real things."

As students worked on their StoryBox entries last week, Mitchell expressed excitement to read the stories.

"I think their stories will be some of the most meaningful stories in the box because they'll be about not knowing the language when they came here," she said. "They have such amazing stories."

Scioto librarian Erin Cassaro saw the StoryBox Project go through Scioto in 2009.

"The school is so diverse," she said. "This allows the celebration of diversity, but students can also see they have similarities."

Cassaro said former Scioto Principal Marina Davis shared a story about being part of three generations of Italian women for the project shortly before her 2009 death.

"I connected with her through that," she said.

They StoryBox Project will be at Scioto High School until mid-October, but will come back in March for the school's Global Read-a-Latte Cafe, themed "Stories Hold Us Together" in honor of StoryBox.

The March 6 event runs after school and gives students a chance to tell stories and celebrate different cultures, Cassaro said.

Scioto students will also get a chance to share the stories they submitted, Mitchell said.

Community submissions for the StoryBox Project are also being accepted and can be sent to Mitchell at Scioto High School, 4000 Hard Road, or submitted online at storyboxproject.com.

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