A busload of 27 Humbolt Elementary students made the trek March 9 to the annual Eastern Oregon University Student Writers’ Workshop in La Grande.

The event is designed to boost their enthusiasm for creative writing.

Humbolt fifth-grade teacher Anna Stargel led the group of students, in grades 3-5, along with two other teachers and two parent chaperones.

Stargel said the students attended workshops led by EOU undergraduate students, including classes on haiku poetry, fantasy writing, a St. Patrick’s Day leprechaun story and music and poetry.

She said the haiku class was multi-sensory, engaging the students with a nature walk before they began writing about what they saw, heard and felt.

Ten-year-old Nick Stiner wrote a poem in the class called “Beauty”:

“See the blossoms sprout

Hear the beautiful plants grow

Find the types of plants”

All the students were welcome to share a sample of their writing from the day during open mic time at the end of the day.

Sixth-grader Maddie Bailey, in Georgia Boethin’s class, said that was her favorite part.

“I liked listening to other people’s stories,” Bailey said.

Her sister Eliza, in Amy Hittle’s fourth-grade class, said the event was a learning experience.

“I liked when we got to turn music and songs into poems, because we could express ourselves however we wanted,” she said.

Rowdy Wilson, also in Hittle’s class, said the teachers were kind and encouraging.

“Ms. Carson’s leprechaun writing was my favorite because Ms. Carson was really nice, and we got to write a whole bunch,” he said. “The teachers were really nice and encouraging.”

About 200 students in all from schools in La Grande, Baker City, Pine Eagle and other cities also joined in for the event, which was spearheaded by Nancy Knowles who is an EOU English/writing professor.

Fifth-grader Boyden Weaver won a cash prize in the “World’s Best Sentence Competition,” which was handed out by Knowles.

Stargel said the students met people who are making a career of writing.

“It was so fun and so unique,” she said. “It was a really cool experience for our kids.”

Angel Carpenter is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. She can be contacted at angel@bmeagle.com or 541-575-0710.

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