“It’s been a memorable experience,” said Dio Hernandez about The Poetry Partnership that he has participated in for the last two years. Hernandez, a UNC sophomore, added, “We have helped the students gain confidence in their writing by urging them to express themselves, which promotes their future goals and dreams.”
Last year approximately 65 freshman students from UNCP in the service-learning composition courses led by Deana Johnson and Amy Williams hosted a special reading party in February of 2019 for 51 second graders from R.B. Dean Elementary School in Maxton, North Carolina. With the help of Sara Oswald’s Computer-Assisted Editing and Publication Design class, each child’s poem from the reading party was typed, edited, and published into an original publication, a poetry booklet, Dreams from R. B. Dean. Each student received a copy.
“We were thrilled to work with the second-grade classes from R.B. Dean, and our collaborative efforts have produced work that students and faculty members from both UNCP and R.B. Dean can be proud of and celebrate,” said Johnson, Director of the College Opportunity Program.
This year’s publication featured a special dedication to Ms. Sandra Cassidy who was involved with the project for all three years. Ms. Cassidy retired in 2019 after teaching 25 of her 27 years at R.B. Dean Elementary. She, and others, such as Ms. Tikia Eaddy, Ms. Janice Gibbs, and Ms. Stephanie McIntyre were an integral part of the project.
The Poetry Partnership Project, an ongoing initiative between the College Opportunity Program, Oswald’s PRE 3450 Classes, and the Office for Community and Civic Engagement at UNC Pembroke as well as R. B. Dean Elementary, is entering its fourth year of serving students at both R.B Dean and UNCP, and UNCP students are already hard at work on the next publication. Hernandez stresses that the experience “benefits both the volunteers and the elementary students,” highlighting the value of service learning across various communities.