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Summer program gets youth excited about writing
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Christina Rumble, who attends Park View School in Ripon, proudly displays her soon-to-be-published work for the Great Valley Writing Project entitled, “The Pup Wants to Play.” - photo by VINCE REMBULAT/The Bulletin
RIPON – Jazmen Martin is a big fan of pop singer Adam Lambert.

At this year’s Great Valley Writing Project at Ripon High, the youngster from McParland School paid tribute to last year’s American Idol runner-up, using the technology to pull up online photos for her soon-to-be-published ode to Lambert.

“I like it here because we’re free to do our own (writing) project,” Martin said on Monday.

She’s among the 83 fourth-through 12th-grade students taking part in the writing programs sponsored by California State University-Stanislaus, San Joaquin County Office of Education and GVWP.

According to Melissa King, who is the coordinator of the programs, the GVWP promises to be beneficial to both the teachers, who also serve as writing coaches, and students.

“Students learn from teachers, who, in turn, learn from students,” she said.

On this day, both groups worked on the exercise, “how to paraphrase in a writing group,” with the young authors sharing their writing efforts to the instructors.

King occasionally stepped in by providing instructions.

“Tell the author what you think is the heart of the story,” she said to the writing coaches. “You can even make suggestions.”

Sandy Lozano is a New Haven teacher involved in the GVWP for the past two years. She noted that students often find it easier to write in this environment.

“I think this as an opportunity (for them) to express their selves,” Lozano said. “They learn because they’re working one-on-one.”

Angelica Lizarraga and Michelle Beacham are newcomers to GVWP. Both discovered the work involving students and teachers as being no different than that of a study session.

“I’m learning just by listening,” said Lizarraga, who is a speech and language pathologist for Manteca Unified.

She’s planning to use her summer experience to help students with language delay problems at Great Valley School.

Beacham, who teaches at Sequoia School, also enjoys dynamics of the writing workshops.

“I’m finding that it’s a lot of fun to teach in (an all-writing) environment,” she said.

Manteca High teacher Nick Silva has been involved in the GVWP for the past three years.

He’s in charge of technology for the writing projects.

Silva indicated that students here are often familiar with the computer software used to compose, polish, and publish their work.

In the next few days, they’ll have their efforts published and available for display at the website,

Christina Rumble, for one, was all set to go as her work, “The Pup Wants to Play,” was nearly completed.

“We do have a puppy,” said the incoming fifth-grade student at Park View School. “We had to choose from the pick of the litter.”

Giovanny Martinez of Riverbank wrote about his two Labrador dogs named “Dash” and “Sasha.”

“They jumped and splashed around in our pond,” he said. “They ate my fish.”

Although the GVWP is scheduled to conclude this week at Ripon High, some students will remain there for an additional week, according to King.

In particular, Ripon Unified and SJCOE students who are approved to receive high school credits to go towards graduation or to make up for poor or low grade in English.

The next GVWP workshop is scheduled for next week – June 21 through July 1 – at Woodward School for fourth-through-ninth-grade students.

Cost is $125 (the extra $25 will be used to reimburse MUSD’s operations budget).

King is hoping that GVWP at Goodwin School, 1271 N. Main St., Manteca, will go on as planned.

Scheduled from July 5 through July 15, the workshop for third-through-eighth-grade students was in need of support as of late last week.

Twenty-five youngsters expressed interest but were in need of financial support.

King indicated a dual-funding system would allow for students in this situation to receive scholarships. She noted that the registration fees paid during enrollment are matched by contributions from local individuals and businesses.

“We still need 15 additional enrollments to balance the Goodwin budget,” King said last week. “SJCOE had not only agreed to provide the Goodwin site at no charge, but they offered to send their technology staff to provide computers and reconfigure networks for our program.

“We can’t ask the SJCOE staff to invest the time unless we know that we have enough funds to run the program.”

Cost for the two-week workshop at Goodwin is $100 per student.

For more information, call GVWP office at 209-667-3490.

To reach reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail