Book written by local students published through The Origin Project


Southwest Virginia students came together on Wednesday to celebrate the publication of stories they wrote this past year.

All of the stories are inspired by life in Appalachia. The book's publication is the culmination of The Origin Project, created by author Adriana Trigiani.

"These kids are published authors at a time when that is simply not possible," said Executive Director of The Origin Project, Nancy Bolmeier Fisher.

The book is made up of stories from over 1,000 students in Southwest Virginia.

The goal of the project is to help students learn about the history of their families.

"It was fun to learn about my ma'maw and how she had her journey," said second grader Willow Taylor.

Willow is a student at Flatwoods Elementary. For the past few months, she's been listening to stories her grandmother tells her to inspire the writing in The Origin Project.

"The story is about my ma'maw and how she played jacks. She didn't have any siblings, so she had to play with her cousins," explained Willow.

Willow and her classmates are the first group of second graders to participate in the project.

She says before the curriculum came to her school, she didn't have much experience in creative writing.

"When I was little, I kind of used to write stories. But I didn't know how to write in cursive so I just scribbled," said Willow.

Nancy Bolmeier Fisher says students who participate in the project show huge progress in their writing ability.

"The kids are writing every single day. I have been told by at least seven or eight of the schools that their standardized testing scores have exploded. They are much, much higher," said Fisher.

Planning for next years project is already underway.

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