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Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

x.jpgOn Saturday, January 29th, 2011, Palm Beach County students, including seven from Santaluces High School’s English Language Learners’ Program participated in the “Read, Write, Recite” event that was held at the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens.

The students were invited to the event to read their original poems.  “These students were asked to write something which captured who they are and where they are from,” said James Connolly, their teacher.  “They did exactly that and more.  They arrived dressed in their ‘Sunday-best’ and read their poems with tremendous courage and grace in front of a receptive audience,” he added.

Theresa Dorce, one of five finalists and a student of Mr. Connolly’s class said, “It was wonderful to let people know and hear about my feelings in my poetry.  I come from Haiti, and it was a joy to express myself in English to an audience of professionals;” she also liked walking around the gardens and viewing the beautiful sculptures.  

Christelle Litus, another Santaluces student at the event, said “It was fun, and I enjoyed it.  I especially felt great when I was reading in front of people and they clapped their hands for me.”

In fact, all seven of Mr. Connolly’s Santaluces students had the opportunity to read their poems.   These poems were all titled, Where I’m From, and each verse began with, I’m from…  “All were superb.  The poems were written with an intensity and an honesty that just blew me away.  The students really captured the essence of who they are and where they come from.  Plus, they spoke with remarkable composure into a microphone to an audience of mostly adults,” Mr. Connolly said.

The event was organized by Pamela Caruso, the Community Development Director of the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens.  Ms. Caruso invited artists, teachers and students to read both original works and the works of prominent African-American poets.  Ms. Caruso said that she hopes to establish “Read, Write, Recite” as an annual event.  Let’s hope she is successful in this endeavor.

The English Language Learners’ (ELL) Program is designed for students who do not know English or need to improve their English proficiency in order to understand their school work. In this program students whose primary language is different from English are specially taught English while they also learn the other contents areas.

The School District of Palm Beach County currently has about 19,000 students in the ELL Program, which represents 11% of the total student population at the District.

For more information about the event, contact James Connolly at connollyj@palmbeach.k12.fl.us.

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