On May 18, Heathwood 3rd graders and Kindergarteners got a gift that, if past experience is anything to go by, many will treasure for years: a book about them, written just for them, by a Heathwood 7th grader.
The longstanding 7th grade book buddy program is one of several Heathwood traditions that bring older and younger students together to learn with and from one another. In addition to making friends with fellow Highlanders from a different division, the 7th graders learn the art of storytelling, while the younger students get a book that's written about them and expressly designed to appeal to them by drawing on their interests and favorite things.
The 7th graders have spent all year getting to know their book buddies, learning their interests, goals, and favorite things, and learning how to tell a great story. Then they each crafted a book--words, illustrations, and all--designed to appeal to their buddy. The expressions on their buddies' faces when they heard the stories for the first time suggest all that work was well worthwhile.
Seventh grade English teacher Sue Swick has been running the Book Buddies program for so long that one of the students who received a book when he was in 1st grade is now her colleague. 6th grade history teacher Brice Spires ('09) still has the book that was written for him some 20 years ago--a tangible reminder of just how much it means to a young Highlander when an older student takes the time to get to know them well enough to write a story that they love.