WSJ English students share poetry, essays

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 17, 1999

By LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / March 17, 1999

EDGARD – Lorraine Williams, an honors English instructor at West St. JohnHigh School, glowed with pride as she introduced various members of her class.

“She’s one of the hardest working students I know,” Williams said of one young lady during a dizzying barrage of introductions to the smiling students.

“He picked up the sandwiches five minutes before we started,” she said of another. “Go prepare our guest something,” she asked another student, whojumped to respond with a double-handful of cut sandwiches, cookies, pickle slices and chips.

It was the conclusion of a poetry/essay presentation, held Monday morning, as her students stood in front of more than 40 of their peers to read aloud favorite poems and essays and contributed their own original works.

Offerings included “Alone,” by Maya Angelou, as read by Ireon Bethancourt, and “The Creation: A Negro Sermon,” presented by Tara Mitchell and Brian Lumar.

The students almost raced for the microphone, banked by Louisiana and U.S. flags, while a video camera recorded their presentations. Thestudents, unlike the usual image, politely listened to every offering and applauded with genuine enthusiasm.

Williams, a third-year teacher at the school after years of teaching in St.

Charles Parish, said her group is motivated and driven to success.

“This is part of an ongoing program, and we hope to have summer workshops as well,” she said Her class is exposed to techniques in novel-writing, literary classics and poetry. They also provide presentations at the Edgard Council on Agingsenior center and write original nursery rhymes for West St. JohnElementary students.

Near the end of the program, principal Glenda Gaudet was presented with a corsage and a card of gratitude, as well as a hug from student Tremaine Nathan.

Afterward, the students enjoyed a brief reception, for which they provided the refreshments, and quickly returned to class, enriched by the experience.

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