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Eustis Elementary Volunteer Helps Students
the "Write" Way

Courtesy of Lake County Schools

photo
Students Aislyn Dean and Ashley Morris discuss their writing with Ms. White

Margie White says she has found her niche. And the staff at Eustis Elementary School is certainly happy it's on their campus. Ms. White can be found at Eustis Elementary five days a week, either in a classroom as a substitute teacher or in the Panther Cub Publishing Center where she creates a book from student writings for them to take home. "It's really a nice way to help the students prepare for the 'Florida Writes' test," said White, who was honored in 1998 as the Lake County Schools Volunteer of the Year. "When the children get their book and they see they are a 'published author,' it's worth all the money in the world to see the look on their faces." White says she enjoys working with challenged students the most.

The program is part of the school's improvement plan to encourage students to improve their writing skills. The publishing center is open to all students, and historically has 100 percent participation. Every year for the past 11 years, White has accepted original written work from students for publishing. She then interviews the authors for special comments in the books she puts together from her computer in the publishing center. She also creates certificates for the students recognizing them for their achievement.

White recenlty completed the 200th edition from the publishing center this year and anticipates meeting the typical annual mark of 500 books. "I try to get every student published," she said. "It does so much for their self-esteem." And students apparently live up to her opinion. When asked what he enjoyed most about writing books, third grade student Sam replied, "It makes me feel good." To which White added, "Need I say more?" And according to Ms. White, Eustis Elementary School will continue to be the very happy home of her niche. "I'm not ready for the rocking chair yet!" she exclaimed.

For more information about Lake County Schools, visit www.lake.k12.fl.us.