There's a first time for everything

This year has been a marker for many firsts. It is the first year I ever taught a Creative Writing class at our school--all other years teaching English at different levels. As a part of the course, and a major and final grade, students all had to write, illustrate, and present a poetry anthology. In addition, all had to submit one or more of their works to any publisher and/or contest, regardless of the outcome (winning or publication). It was a first for all of us, and most students were somewhat uncomfortable with the entire process, but they worked hard, produced wonderful work, submitted their pieces, and (which is the intended outcome) saw the fruits of their hard work in being accepted and eventually published. I could not in any terms describe the pride I feel in being a part of this process and in watching the beaming faces they all have as they share the news of becoming published authors. This year marked many firsts for me and my students: 1. First time teaching (and offering) Creative Writing classes. 2. First time making students work on an extensive Poetry Anthology project. 3. First time making submission a major requirement (and grade) for the class. 4. First year a group of my students actually submitted to any form of contest. AND 5. The first time I saw even the most students engage in such a project with such interest (not counting the joy I have seen as they have received notice of their poems being published). I dare say, I may not see the last of their desire to publish future work, either. Thank you. There are no words to describe, even poetic ones, how this experience has touched our lives.

Gabriela Pruneda

Iman Academy SW, TX