In 2016, a group of Old Boys established the Kronengold Fund in honor of their second grade teacher Susan Kronengold. The Fund brings an author to the school each year to speak to the boys. This year the Middle School had the pleasure of spending an hour with author Jack Gantos.
Fifth grader Oliver W. introduced Mr. Gantos:
“Today we are honored to have author Jack Gantos come to St. Bernard’s. Jack Gantos is an amazing writer who lives in Massachusetts. He was born in Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania, and has since won multiple awards that even include the Newberry Award! Some books he has written are Dead End on Norvelt, From Norvelt to Nowhere, and the Joey Pigza series which the Middle School has read in library this year. I like his books for its comedy, great storytelling plot, and relatability.”
Mr. Gantos talked to the boys about his experience becoming a writer. It all begins with a journal and he implored the boys to write ten to fifteen minutes a day. He said a blank page can often stare blankly back at you, and he showed the boys how to start a story by drawing a map of their world. The journal is there “to be your friend, not to challenge you” and it’s ok if the content is a mess at first. These ideas can be worked into short stories, and Mr. Gantos taught us how to add structure to raw material. He talked us through making a list of the action and the emotional plots of story. Mr. Gantos’s tales were a perfect fit for the audience. The boys were hanging on to his every word.
Many boys lined up after the assembly to get Mr. Gantos’s autograph and then went up to their classrooms to start working on their journals. We thank Jack Gantos for coming to St. Bernard’s, and we are grateful to the Kronengold Authors Fund for making this special morning possible.