Severance Middle School students learn from local author
September 20, 2014
Greeley-raised author and entrepreneur Graciela Tiscareño-Sato wants to open eyes, especially those of students, to the vast possibilities they could pursue in their lives.
At Severance Middle School she met with 31 sixth, seventh and eighth grade students to pass on some of her experience as an author in a writing workshop.
Hopefully, students learned concrete writing skills that help them when they go on to do great things, Tiscareño-Sato said.
Her time with the students is how she can contribute to the "great things" they will do with their lives.
Many of the students said the workshop not only taught them how they could improve their writing process, but also that they could be successful in many different things.
Students such as Sydnee Glassier, Severance Middle School eighth-grader, said she learned perhaps they did not need to know what they wanted to do with the rest of their lives, only what they wanted to do next.
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"It's cool to learn you can do different things," start with one career and then maybe move to a different one, she said.
Many students only get to see what their parents or teachers do for a living and might miss out on other opportunities.
Whether by sharing her own experience or those of the Latinos creating green jobs in her book, Tiscareño-Sato said she tries to open peoples' eyes to the possibilities of what they can do with their skills and interests.
One of the people she focused on in her book had a background in accounting and used those skills to start an environmentally friendly, or green, business adding solar services to schools.
People can take the skills and interests they have and apply them in many different ways, she said.
Tiscareño-Sato started by talking with the students about her book, "Latinnovating: Green American Jobs and the Latinos Creating Them." The students, who had read the book prior to her workshop, talked with Tiscareño-Sato, bringing up parts of the book they liked either because of the substance or how she wrote them.
Students then made short questionnaires to use as starting points for interviewing their peers and paired off, taking turns asking each other the questions. After the interviews, students then wrote a paragraph about their interview subjects. Tiscareño-Sato encouraged the students to write and leave their inner editor out of the processes. Then students passed their writing off to another student in the workshop and they edited each other's work.
Many students spoke up after the exercise and said they felt it helped their writing, having someone else look over it. Some students said it helped them feel comfortable opening their work up to editing.
Devyn Tousignant, Severance Middle School eighth-grader, already wanted to be a writer, and is working on her first novel, a science fiction piece, she said. For her the workshop showed that someone who works at it, and wants to, could be a successful as a writer.
After the workshop, Tiscareño-Sato presented her "STEM of Aviation" workshop to a group of about 40 students from Severance Middle School.
Tiscareño-Sato grew up living in Evans and going to school in Greeley, where she graduated from Greeley West High School and accepted an Air Force ROTC scholarship and went to the University of California, Berkeley.
Now a White House honoree as a "Champion of Change Woman Veteran Leader," she was recognized earlier this year for her entrepreneurship achievements and founding an educational publishing company that creates award-winning literature to showcase the positive contributions of innovative Latino Americans.
Now she lives in Hayward, Calif., and her book "Latinnovating: Green American Jobs and the Latinos Creating Them" earned three honors at the 2012 International Latino Book Awards in New York City.
She also authored the children's book, "Good Night Captain Mama/Buenas Noches Capitán Mamá," received an award in the "Best Educational Children's Book – Bilingual" category at the 2014 International Latino Books Awards held at the 2014 American Library Association convention.