Thursday, May 7, 2009
A love for writing
By SUE WATSON
Three second grade students from the Holly Springs Primary School have written and published a book about James Meredith, the first African American to attend the University of Mississippi in Oxford.
Their instructor, Cindy Finch, was with the authors Justin Davis, Ja’Kiah Hoyle and Myles Stone, when they read excerpts from their five-chaptered book at the Marshall County Library before donating a copy to librarian Diane Schule.
The idea for the book developed as the three were studying about important cities in Mississippi, Finch said.
They had studied 15 cities, learning their location from a line map, the county where the city resides, and something important about the city, when the students finally got around to Oxford, Finch said.
As the three gifted students researched on the Internet and in books about Oxford, naturally Ole Miss was a part of that research, Finch said.
“Finally, they got to Mr. James Meredith, and they asked me a few questions,” she said. “I didn’t know the answers so we started looking them up. As they studied, a book seemed to be the best way to present what they had learned.”
It was at that point, after studying Mississippi cities, that the students collected enough facts on Meredith’s life to write a book that included facts and some fictionalized history using characters they created for the book.
Finch said the students worked one hour a day for about a month doing research, then writing and binding the book.
Meredith, Oprah Winfrey, Morgan Freeman and President Obama were issued invitations to be present Wednesday, April 22, at noon for the presentation. Only Meredith acknowledged the invitation but had to decline because of a busy schedule, Finch said.
In accepting the book for the library, Schule congratulated the students who, to her knowledge, are only the second group in recent times she can remember presenting a book they created to the library.
“To tell you the truth, I’m a little jealous,” said Schule. “My whole life has been about books, but I’ve never gotten one written and bound. I am very impressed with your work. Thank you so much.”
Afterward, Schule said she is “so thrilled at anything the kids do, because we are losing touch with the language.”
After the presentation, students were treated to lunch provided free by Annie Moffitt Lucas, owner of Annie’s Restaurant. Lunch consisted of liberal servings of whole milk, cookies, and peanut butter sandwiches.
Finch is coordinator of the intellectually gifted program at Holly Springs High School and the teacher.
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