Maxwell High School's creative writing class recently wrapped its holiday story project by sharing students' stories and illustrations with the third-graders of Maxwell Elementary School.
The project guidelines were to write a parable or fable that was less than 500 words with a clear moral and at least 10 hand-drawn illustrations.
Since there are approximately 40 third-graders at MES this year, each high school student read to groups of four at a time. They rotated at seven-minute intervals, allowing time for the groups to discuss the plot and moral of each tale.
"I liked that each story had a lesson," third-grader Evan Mathis said.
The top theme for the stories was Christmas, but some students chose to write about Thanksgiving and Easter as well.
The project was a community- and family-bonding experience, as many of the high school students were sharing their work with younger siblings, nieces and nephews.
Mathis was initially grouped with his older cousin, 12th-grader Mallory Mathis, whose story brought candy canes to life and taught about embracing diversity.
"This project is one I will always remember," Mallory Mathis said. "When (teacher Paul) Gadbois first announced we would be writing a story, I was scared, but in the end, it was so fun. I loved seeing how happy all of the third-graders were to listen to our stories. It was an amazing experience."
The project was a district collaboration among three of its teachers: Shannon Vierra, Julie Townzen and Gadbois.
Vierra enjoyed seeing some of her former students return to the elementary school and give back to the younger generation of students.
"It's always nice to see older students being positive role models for younger ones," Vierra said. "Also, it's a treat to see how they've grown and matured into successful young adults."
The creative writing class is an A-G approved English elective offered to MHS upperclassmen.