For many years--decades in fact--my students in 8th grade English finished the year with a project called the Personal Volume, a collection of writings in different domains, sewn and bound into a handsome book, with original artwork and graphics, all assembled in days of delighted effort in class. Then school closed on March 13, 2020, a few days away from when I had planned on introducing the Personal Volume and assigning the first writing.
With the year quite suddenly blown up, I resolved to find a way to offer the project--in a necessarily amended form--to interested students. I could not assign and require any work; anything produced had to be voluntary, stemming from a love and respect for the English language, and a love and respect for education itself. Myriad thanks to the students who not only chose to participate, but who created some of the most accomplished, heartfelt, and technically superb writing I have enjoyed in thirty-two years of teaching English.
I hope you students will treasure this book you wrote, and I will treasure all you have contributed to my life as a teacher.
Los Coches Creek Middle School
8th Grade English/Honors English