Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

For Rodgers Middle School students, writing as easy as A, B, C

Ariana Miller, 12, from left, Misael Regalado, 12, and Autumn Thompson, 11, right, worked with Bernadeth D’Souza on the Florida Blue Young Authors Contest entry.

WILLIE J. ALLEN JR. | Times

Ariana Miller, 12, from left, Misael Regalado, 12, and Autumn Thompson, 11, right, worked with Bernadeth D’Souza on the Florida Blue Young Authors Contest entry.

RIVERVIEW — Somewhere between A and Z, Bernadeth D'Souza's advanced language arts students will remind you of things they think make Tampa special.

The Rodgers Middle School teacher recently asked her students to choose a letter of the alphabet and write something historical or informative about Tampa beginning with the selected letter of the alphabet. She also asked that it be written in rhyme.

The result was a class submission for a new writing competition. The Florida Blue Young Authors Contest, sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida and the Books by Kids Foundation, allows middle school students in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties to compete for a chance to have their work published.

Tampa Bay from A to Z will combine the written words of students with the artwork of young patients from St. Joseph's Children's Hospital and All Children's Hospital. The book will be sold throughout Tampa Bay, and its net proceeds will benefit the two children's hospitals and school of the winning author(s).

Rodgers Middle School's collaborative entry begins with the rhyme of 12-year-old Ariana Miller:

A is for Adventure Islands

A place worth touring

Come visit this great land

You won't say it's boring.

Ariana, who aspires to become a novelist, enjoys writing because she says it comes easy to her.

"You can give me a topic, and I could write for days on it," Ariana said.

Another student, 12-year-old Misael Regalado, took about a week to perfect his submission for the letter "C." He decided to highlight his Cuban heritage by remembering a Tampa industry that once dominated the area. After reading it out loud, his writing effort paid off when he won the approval of his teachers and classmates.

Cigars, cigars it is here they were made

They were bountiful as they came

People smoked them in cars and trains

But now they just faded away.

Autumn Thompson , 11, was inspired to write about downtown Tampa. She says she always has fun exploring its many places of interest with her mother. The downtown courthouse particularly fascinates her because she wants to be an attorney.

D is for Downtown

Where buildings soar high

It is where excitement is found

Right below the blue sky.

D'Souza, a veteran teacher of 32 years, knows that competition can often bring out the best in her students. She encourages them to compete in various writing competitions to move them out of the doldrums of ordinary assignments. She says writing for a contest gives them a different motivation because it's more exciting to think of actually winning and being published.

Former student Chase Cicale, now a high school student, should know. As a sixth-grader he won second place and a $500 scholarship in a statewide contest by writing an alternative ending to the book Hoot by Carl Hiaasen. He also received a signed copy of the book from the author and a letter from the governor.

D'Souza says these days Chase still comes to visit his former teacher. When she hears him encouraging her sixth-grade students, she remembers when he wasn't so confident about entering the writing contest he would later place in.

"He stood up and said, 'You're crazy if you think we can win something like this,' " D'Souza said.

After Chase finally bought into the idea, he produced a 1,000-word ending that won him second place out of more than 1,000 entries. It later fueled a desire to continue writing.

D'Souza continues to hope for more winners among her students, recognizing another important motivation.

"Once they know someone likes their writing, it will inspire them to do more," D'Souza said.

Belinda Kramer can be reached at hillsnews@sptimes.com.

For Rodgers Middle School students, writing as easy as A, B, C 01/13/11 [Last modified: Thursday, January 13, 2011 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Suspect arrested in fatal shooting of Virginia special agent

    Crime

    RICHMOND, Va. — A Virginia State Police special agent died Saturday after being shot by a man sitting in a car in Richmond, police said. The shooting suspect fled on foot, sparking an overnight manhunt that ended with the man's arrest about an hour after the agent's death.

    This image provided by the Virginia State Police shows law enforcement investigating the scene of a shooting early Saturday in Richmond, Va.   Special Agent Michael T. Walter, a Virginia State Police special agent died Saturday after being shot by a man sitting in a car in Richmond, police said. The shooting suspect fled on foot, sparking an overnight manhunt that ended with the man's arrest about an hour after the agent's death. Virginia State Police said in an emailed statement that Travis A. Ball of Richmond is being held without bond on charges that include malicious wounding and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. (Virginia State Police via AP)
  2. Mayor Rick Kriseman says St. Petersburg mayoral election is about going forward, not back

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman christened his campaign office Friday evening by telling his supporters that the mayoral election was about moving forward, not backward.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman says mayoral election is about inclusiveness Friday at campaign office rally
  3. Forecast: Lots of sunshine, low humidity to start Memorial Day weekend

    Weather

    The start of your long Memorial Day weekend is all sunshine this Saturday, according to WTSP 10Weather meteorologist Rick Kearbey.

    WTSP seven-day forecast on May 27, 2017.
  4. For starters: Rays at Twins, looking for another with Odorizzi starting

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 12:45: Cash said Robertson was taking better swings Friday and so he wanted to move him up today, liking the idea of having three straight right-handers vs. a LHP they don't know much about. ... Souza was still smiling this morning about his failed dive attempt last night, and the reaction it got. .. The …

  5. Global computer outage grounds British flights

    Airlines

    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports Saturday as a global IT failure caused severe disruption for travelers on a busy holiday weekend.

    British Airways planes are parked at Heathrow Airport in January. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, file)