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Students at Mount Stuart Elementary School started their own writing club. This was not suggested to them by their teachers, the kids simply wanted to work on their writing skills during the unusual school year.

Cynthia Hilburn, fifth-grade teacher at Mount Stuart said the club was the brainchild of her student, Amira Thomas. One day after virtual class, Thomas asked to stay behind because she wanted to pitch the club.

“She said ‘we have to have a writing club,’” Hilburn said.

Hilburn said Thomas became the group’s director, and is now in charge of the meetings. According to Hilburn, Thomas can be a little shy during class, but in the writing club she makes sure everyone has a chance to read what they wrote the week before.

“She is also brilliant, and she can write like nobody’s business,” Hilburn said.

The club has five full-time members, Thomas, Parteet, Allyssa M. and Delilah C. Hillburn said there are a few other students who attend occasionally, but the core five remain the same.

Any fifth-grader can join the club. Hilburn sent instructions on how to join in an email sent to all fifth-graders and their families when the club first started.

One of the more recent topics for the students was learning during the pandemic.

“Virtual learning is a new experience, to say the least,” Thomas said in a letter to the Daily Record. “Having fifth-grade in zooms and in other virtual sights can be difficult to keep track of, but I’ve found an exciting way to enjoy my free time with my peers, which has been a writing club, I find the experience of virtual learning a test to be flexible, and to be able to make it through. It’s a challenge to work with something new, and something like I haven’t been exposed to. My teacher, Ms. Hilburn has been supportive, and helped a lot, with things such as writing, and making the writing club possible. Ms. Hilburn has also been flexible in her way of teaching which I believe is new to her as well. There are pros and cons of a virtual academic experience, but I think that once I make it out, I’ll be a better and more prepared person. All in all, the difficulties and trials are worth it.”

Students come up with homework and writing prompts for each other. One of the first things they did in the club was create a shared Google Document which they could all edit. They used this to come up with new prompts they should write about including fantasy, reality, poems and saving the princess or prince from a dragon.

“They did a sensory write. They all went outside for 10 minutes and wrote about what they saw and felt and heard, stuff like that,” Hilburn said.

Hilburn acts as the adviser during the meetings. She doesn’t assign work to the students, but she does occasionally point them in the right direction. If the students can’t think of a writing topic for the day, Hilburn might suggest one to them.

“The topic depends on wherever their heads are at on that day,” Hilburn said. “It’s kinda fun, cause it’s what they like to do.”

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