Thank You, Longfellow

By IYWP Mentor Taryen Lannutti

Imagine almost twenty students stuff their face with pizza, eating each slice so fast it’s almost a magic trick. It was really quite funny. Our last lesson at Longfellow was a humorous reading party. We ate pizza while each student read their favorite work from this semester’s anthologies and as our final day at Longfellow came to a close; I began to think about the time I have spent with these wonderful writers.

The fall semester of 2015 was not a semester I particularly looking forward. Not for any negative reasons, but I had a full class load which normally wouldn’t be a problem, but these classes were not exactly courses I was looking forward to. I decided to keep my sanity I would sign up for a class I would enjoy, writing with a purpose. This class was recommended to me by a friend who endlessly talked about a group of young writers she worked with every week. She spent most her time thinking about lessons and talking about how wonderful the kids at her site were. She had convinced me this class would be a class that was worth trying. “It can be challenging, but it’s totally worth it,” she said repeatedly. Before I knew it my first day at Longfellow Elementary and I had no idea what I was in for. We walked into the LMC and were quickly greeted by very eager kids. Then something strange happened, I blinked, and two semesters with them flew by. The past year I’ve spent with the Longfellow writing club has been the best. I know a lot of people say that, “I volunteer with blah… blah… blah… and it’s the most amazing experience you will ever have,” but they are so wrong because I can with out a doubt say that volunteering with the IYWP has been the most amazing experience I have ever had and I don’t think there’s really topping that. I have learned an incredible amount about myself, my future career, and the importance of creativity while writing. I have never met a group of kids more imaginative and expressive as these kids. I also have had the great pleasure of volunteering among a wonderful group of peers who are just as talented and imitative as the students we mentor. I want nothing more than to peek into these kids future lives to see the amazing things they will inevitably do, that’s how invested we have all become. We love these kids and the few that are leaving for Jr. High will be incredibly missed because what’s writing club without every single one of these kids? I honestly have no idea, but what I do know is that I want to continue my time at Longfellow. I’m not ready to leave them just yet. There are so many stories I want to hear from them, Poems I want to be impressed by, and plays I want to workshop with them. I have so much gratitude for the IYWP for creating such a unique organization that adds such imagination to our community. I also am so thankful for every Longfellow kid who has unknowingly made every volunteer’s semester enjoyable while simultaneously showing us how we can strengthen our own writing as well.


There are a group of Longfellow writers that are leaving for Jr. High, when asked what they will miss about writing club this is what Sully, a writer extraordinaire, said, “I’ll miss a cool place to express my ideas to others. Well, that’s the meaningful reason, but really I’m going to miss this pizza.” Sully is quite the jokester. His thought provoking work was also quite popular during our anthology reading. I’d like to end this semester with a poem he wrote.

Once I Had a Midnight Dream

by Sullivan

Once I had a midnight dream
It was strange, as most dreams seem
It left me in a blackened daze
In my eyes, a colored haze
That no one else but I could see
An array of paints all owned by me Green just like a fresh cut lawn
A red sun at the crack of dawn
Black smothered across the sky
Yellow as a firefly
Trees were floating in the air
Fish were flopping everywhere
An icy gust whips past my face
I got attacked by my shoelace
The dream just kept getting more weird I even began to grow a beard
An ugly bird
A fresh cut lawn
What in the world did I do wrong
A heavy lull
A booger knife
What’s the meaning of my life
I can’t stop
spinning spinning spinning
spinning spinning
I finally wake up in my bed
Honestly I’m filled with dread
I’m relieved that the dream has died

Until I see a floating tree outside.


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