Young Lions Roar is a creative writing program that travels to schools in the Quad Cities. It's taught by Rocky grad Aubrey Barnes. Thanks to the school's partnership with Augustana College, Longfellow was able to fund and bring the program to the school. Mrs. Kantner, a teacher at Longfellow wanted to bring the Young Lions Roar program to Longfellow so students could have a creative way to express themselves.
"I wanted our students to learn to share their voices, experiences, and who they are in an authentic and safe space all while fostering their writing, speaking, and critical thinking skills," said Mrs. Kantner.
The program hosts 10 sessions throughout the school year. Aubrey works with 5th and 6th graders. The program consists of a fusion of creative writing lessons pertaining to performance poetry, social-emotional learning skills, therapeutic writing, and discussion.
Aubrey starts off each session by asking students if anyone would like to read poetry they've written in front of the class. As nerve-wracking as it is to read a piece of your own in front of your classmates, students do!
"I think our 5th & 6th graders are feeling more confident in writing and have a creative and safe space to share their authentic selves with others," said Mrs. Kantner.
Students then learn about different poetry styles and write poetry in class where Aubrey is there to help.
"Aubrey is able to draw that magic out of them," said Mrs. Kantner.
At the end of the year, 5th and 6th graders will perform a showcase for the student body and their parents.
The program is giving these young lions a voice while building a sense of community with their peers.