After living in Eastern Kentucky for 44 years and being an English teacher for 21 of those years, I have developed an intense drive for improving the levels literacy and communication within our region. Within this passion, I have seen that the people of Appalachia have some incredible stories—of survival, defeat, victory, and struggle—that deserve to be told and shared within our community. There are countless, documented ways to improve reading and writing skills, many of which I have used over the years with students who now range in age from 15-38 years old. One trend that they all had in common was the fact that they had a story to tell, but, sometimes had no one to “tell it to”, or lacked the motivation and skills to do so. This is something that I want to change for these former students and the ones heading into the future of the 21st century.
I am projecting to collect 3,000 pages of original writings done by persons of all ages within Knott County. Since I am starting with blank pages, I am hoping to see a growth of 3,000% in the areas of writing, reading, and communicating. The culminating community event will provide proof that the project has been a success for our school and other stakeholders in education in Knott County. If successful, I would love to spread this love to other surrounding counties.