The Spring ISD Board of Trustees on Tuesday welcomed two of the student honorees from the Spring ISD Rising Writers’ Student Expo, held on Thursday, Jan. 27 at Carl Wunsche Sr. High School.
Marie Mendoza, the district’s executive director of instructional services, explained to trustees that the event promoting writing in Spring ISD was inspired in part by a challenge from Superintendent Dr. Lupita Hinojosa to find exciting ways to highlight the importance of writing and celebrate its role in students’ lives.
“Dr. Hinojosa gave us a task – an assignment, really – to make literacy a priority, a priority around equity,” Mendoza said.
She explained that each campus had selected student ambassadors to attend the expo and share with members of the community about how their school engages students with writing across the curriculum and how developing their own writing skills had helped them learn in school and express themselves creatively. Hundreds of students submitted works for the expo, with many receiving recognition for their contributions.
“We had every campus represented – 469 students submitted writing entries,” Mendoza said. “We held a medal ceremony in which 118 students received medals for their commendation in their writing.”
During the school board meeting, Ziffie Clark, a sixth grader at Bailey Middle School, read his poem “I Am a Champion,” an affirmation of his hopes and dreams for himself for the future and a reflection on his desire as a son to make his mother proud.
Also reading during the board meeting was Carl Wunsche Sr. High School ninth grader Sarah Salinas, who shared her poem “The Girl with the Blank Expression,” an intensely felt work about a young person’s struggle with depression, mental health, loneliness, and thoughts of suicide and self-harm.
Board members – who were also given a binder containing submissions by all the medalists from the event – expressed their gratitude to both Clark and Salinas for sharing their work with the trustees and those gathered for the meeting, and for their courage in expressing such powerful and deeply human emotions with such clarity and insight.
“I’d like to tell you, you are our champion,” Board of Trustees President Justine Durant told Clark, “and I’d also like to say to Sarah that I felt your poem in my spirit. You’re phenomenal.”
Trustee Winford Adams Jr. also congratulated both students, and told them to keep striving for creative expression and artistic excellence.
“I am always really impressed with our artists,” Adams said. “I’m blown away by just the pure talent, and it’s still developing talent, which means three, four, five years from now it’ll be even more amazing. I want to encourage you both to keep doing what you’re doing, because the world needs you.”
In her closing remarks, Mendoza told trustees that the expo was one part of a broader literacy campaign in Spring ISD.
“We will continue our work in helping students see the connection between literacy, achievement, and their lives,” Mendoza said.