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Ormond Beach Observer Friday, Jan. 31, 2020 2 months ago

Written in chalk: Seabreeze High School celebrates Literacy Week

The Florida Department of Education's initiative, "Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida!" encourages students to focus on reading for a week.
by: Jarleene Almenas Associate Editor

Seabreeze High School Reading Chair Jennifer Mollo wants to get students excited about books. 

But in an age were smartphones reign supreme, that can be easier said than done. Even so, with a little chalk and some literary inspiration, Seabreeze's courtyard on Thursday, Jan. 30, paid tribute to the books and quotes that changed students' lives.

The art is part of the school's participation in the Florida Department of Education's initiative, "Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida!" Throughout the week, the halls at Seabreeze were covered in sidewalk chalk haiku poems, students swapped books at the media center, and created six-word stories. On Friday, they had the chance to participate in a "literacy photo booth" courtesy of Frame of Mind.

As Mollo perused the courtyard, she wasn't surprised to see Harry Potter book titles written out on the sidewalk. But she was surprised to see books like "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" and "Kite Runner" among them.

“What shocked me about those is those are all books they read here in school, like in class,” Mollo said.

The front Seabreeze courtyard after lunch on Thursday, Jan. 30. Photo by Jarleene Almenas

Seabreeze High School student Justin Scheats said reading has been a big impact almost all of his life. One book series in particular that made an impact was the Percy Jackson series. 

“It reached out on things that teens have trouble with nowadays, so I felt connected to it somehow," Scheats said.

Reading isn't student Mason Owen's favorite hibby, but he said he does enjoy a good sports biography every now and then. Still, he said seeing the campus decorated for Celebrate Literacy Week was welcome. 

A Seabreeze High School student writes on the sidewalk in chalk for "Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida!" on Thursday, Jan. 30. Courtesy photo

“It’s more creative, so it’s not like the same thing everyday," Owen said.

For student Maddox Bovee, he loves a book with a good story line and writing style. 

“It takes a lot for me to get interested in a book, but once the writing style flows really nice, and the story is really interesting, I can get into it really well, like Oliver Twist — that’s a favorite," Bovee said.

It's conversations like these that Mollo strived for during the week. She said students deal with so much negativity and heavy topics that as a teacher, she spends a lot of time building relationships with students — especially those in her reading classes who need a little extra boost in the subject matter to be able to pass their standardized tests and graduate. 

But things like Celebrate Literacy Week helps get the kids excited about something, she said.

"Events like this, it’s important to have a little fun during the school day sometimes," Mollo said. "Something out of the ordinary.”

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