Paul Revere Middle School celebrated its 15th Annual Young Authors Night on May 2, an event brimming with literary and oratorical talent that packed the school’s plaza to capacity as proud parents, siblings, and teachers gathered to hear the words of their young authors.
Dozens of students lined up single file behind two microphones to share 30-second clips of their originally authored works with the audience. Each year, the pieces written by the students are published in the Paul Revere Literary Anthology, a 160-page spiral-bound tome bursting with poetry, prose, and art from hundreds of burgeoning young authors.
The Literary Anthology is the collaborative effort of Palisades PRIDE and its parent coordinators Erin Herron, Christine Whitaker, Dana Glenn and Eva Karelsen, Paul Revere teachers Jenna Roman, Eric Wechsler, Heather Ernst, and John Slavin and is made possible by the support of the American Legion Palisades Post 283 and the Santa Monica-Palisades Masonic Lodge #307.
“This is one of my favorite activities of the year…This is the one where I really get to watch parents swell their chests and sit there and go ‘Yeah, that’s my kid up there, they did that,’” Principal Tom Iannucci said at the event.
“Because in so many other things that we do as a school, rarely is the child identified individually for a piece of individual work… What I love is that it teaches them self confidence and gives them an opportunity to express themselves in front of a crowd and also to see worth and value in what they’re creating, that you value it, that there’s a worth to what they do here on our campus.”
Students clutched their written words tightly as they awaited their chance at the microphone. The air cooled as the sun began to set. Cameras snapped and family members cheered as the authors took turns sharing their pieces, some playful, others poignant, but all impassioned.
“This is quite an accomplishment to have your children published in the seventh or eighth grade and some even in sixth grade, a unique opportunity,” said PRIDE Co-President Malika Mirkasymova. “I don’t think there are many schools in LA that have these kind of programs anymore. It’s inspiring for everyone to see their work published.”
The anthology also included student artwork from Zoe Kalaitzidis, who did the cover, Ronan Suarez, Emma Nakaoka, Lucas Jia, Cleo Waxman-Lee, and Slava Rizova.
Some of the student poems were written in response to well-known poems, including Sara Abou Rashad’s “I Am America.”
“I too am America,” Savanna Mullins wrote in her response poem. “I am the darker sister. I am number 7 of 8. My mother is Hispanic and my father is Black. I am mixed. I am different. I am ME.”