MANATEE COUNTY — As 8-year-old Rachel Buck sat down at a round table in her classroom, she eagerly snatched up a book titled, “S.O.A.R. with the Eagles,” and quickly turned to the page of which she’s most proud — her own.
Buck and her classmates in Camissa Tabor’s third-grade class at Gene Witt Elementary School recently published a collection of stories and the pictures they drew to go with them. The first letter of each page spells out the book’s title, and each student wrote about one character trait in Witt’s S.O.A.R. program — Service, Outstanding Effort, Achievement or Respect.
“It was fun, because you do all this work, and then when you’re done, it comes out really nice,” Buck said. “I was in shock (when I first saw the book). We did such a good job. I feel proud of myself. I really don’t like writing — it’s hard for me — but now it’s more fun.”
Nine-year-old Mady Turner agreed the project was a great learning experience.
“I thought it was really cool,” she said. “I like to go back and look at what me and my classmates wrote. I liked drawing the pictures and writing my script.”
Tabor, who has had published class books before, said the process not only teaches children about writing and editing but also about publishing.
“It branches out and (allows) the children to learn the curriculum and put it into more creative activities,” she said.
Children, this year, dedicated their book to their school’s namesake, Gene Witt, a former educator and superintendent of Manatee County Public Schools.
“Our Gene Witt family is so close,” Tabor said. “He’s a big part of that.”
Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].
“Touchdown! Gene Witt Eagles score a good school! They are now the champions of a great rating. Gene Witt is magnificent! Why this school is so great is the teachers teach kids in a good way, and have people line up in what there last name starts with They have a great principal. I like everything about this school.”
— Jimmy Ansley