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Great Valley Writing Academy opens doors
writing academy

The Great Valley Writing Academy helped sharpen the “cultural, carbon, digital and civil” skills of 30 youths this summer.

Using the Ripon High classrooms and library students from kindergartners into high school tackled writing challenges and even created personal websites. 

Three students – two girls and one boy – offered to chat about their experiences in the writing academy that includes developing an educational website to go along with their Writing Academy challenges: Manret Sahota, 12, Vidhee Patel, 13, and Nathan Gains, 11.

Shaota attends the Next Generation Steam Academy in Lathrop, She was excited to learn about how digital elements impact technology.  She said learned “how we make an impact with the small things we do in our everyday lives.” 

More importantly, she said, “if we are kind to other people and smile it will create a chain reaction.”  She noted that she has been involved in after school programs where she has been focused on helping other people as she prepares to enter her seventh-grade year.

She told of the “warm up period” that is held at the beginning of the day in the writing academy where students had to select a fictitious word of the day and provide a definition.  The word had to tie in with the cultural, digital, carbon and civil footprints, she noted.

Her choice word was “Biddod.”

She further explained her definition, “It was a mystical tree that blossomed when someone did something good and it and it would die off when someone didn’t take care of the environment.”

In her eighth-grade year next month, Vidhee Patel, 13, said she had already taken a picture of herself for the academy and five others to demonstrate her culture.  She said she has been learning to write better and how to create footprints that will energize the world.  Vidhee said she is writing more descriptively now and learning where things originate in life.

She noted that English is her love and she was involved in a recent spelling bee that took her to the county competition, adding that she really enjoys reading.

“I have wanted to become a pharmacist since I was five years old.  They make good money.  They’re not a doctor but it will be a good career,” she said. 

Vidhee said she hopes to go to UOP and the UOP Pharmacy School in Stockton where she recently attended a girls’ camp learning much about the university.

Nathan Gains, 11, is going into the sixth grade at Parkview Elementary School in Ripon saying he has learned that those “footprints” they have learned about are the stereo types of the world.

Being of Chinese descent, Nathan said his cultural footprint was one he expressed as a “hot pot” of bowling water where different foods are mixed together and cooked together for a delicious dinner.

He told of his two pets – lizards, Leo and Orlando.  He was quick to point out that Orlando can shoot his tongue out of his mouth to capture a fly.  Both are nocturnal and come out at night, he said.

“The website is really fun,’ he said.  “It keeps explaining about the footprints and our challenges in solving our problems seeing not enough positivity in school. There should be charts in every classroom for being cooperative and other positive things we can do.”

Nathan said he too wants to be a doctor or eventually an anesthesiologist.

To contact Glenn Kahl, email