The drive to McDermott, Ohio winds through the greenest, most idyllic countryside you’ll find anywhere. Northwest Elementary School sits 5 miles off of US-23 and is home to around 800 K-5 students. A step inside the front door brought me into a high-energy zone: several parents in the office, classes of students filing through the halls…the next few hours would be a marked change from my usual quiet day writing at my desk!
Alyssa Bach-Enz, school librarian (and the coordinator of my visit), showed me to an empty gym which was soon filled with hundreds of students. Sitting on the gym floor in a horseshoe they listened to me talk about writing and getting published…the time and the courage it takes. A handful of students in that audience will undoubtedly grow up to be published writers themselves and I wondered, as I scanned their faces, which ones it might be. Would it be the girl in the very middle of the second group who never took her eyes off me? Or would it be the kindergartner sitting in the front row of the first group who was having a hard time sitting still? I wouldn’t even venture a guess.
As the students filed out of the gym, I got hugs and waves and thank you’s and, from one little girl, a whispered message that had nothing to do with writing but made my day: “You’re pretty!”