My Visit to Cloonan Middle School
Nov 9, 2015 | By: Sonia Ellis
On October 23rd I had a fantastic trip to Cloonan Middle School in Stamford, CT, arranged by the school’s dynamic Assistant Principal, Laureen Mody. I was an invited speaker at their “Scholar Power—Writers and Their Craft” series. I spoke at two assemblies with over 500 sixth, seventh and eighth graders about Talk to Me, the Through My Window project, what it means to be an engineer, and my own path from middle-school kid to current-day writer.
While the talks went well, our Question and Answer sessions were even more fun. These students had insightful questions about everything—about the book, the characters, the writing process—and they even wanted to know when the Talk to Me movie was coming out. (Producers, I’m open to talk about that any time!)
I got treated to an excellent lunch (thank you, Cloonan cafeteria staff!) and got a tour of the school and classrooms. Teachers were using the book and website in innovative ways to engage their students. One class made life-size replicas of Maddie and Rio, and also built their own robots. I heard that most students hated Catalina ("she's so mean to Maddie") and loved the kiss at the end of the book.
I was enthusiastically welcomed and treated like a celebrity throughout this event—thank you so much to Cloonan Middle School for such an inspiring experience.