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Ann Arbor high school organization launches COVID-19 story contest for elementary students

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Book Bridge wants to hear your child’s COVID-19 stories.

Elementary students around the Ann Arbor area are encouraged to submit their pandemic stories to the COVID-19: Tell Us Your Story contest.

Organized by Book Bridge, a Skyline High School student organization that promotes educational equity and learning, the contest is aimed at helping children tell their own stories during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Susan Xi, president of the organization, said that the contest idea started while brainstorming ways to help children during the pandemic with co-president Allison Guo.

“We were talking about it and really wanted to do something where kids could express themselves and write, and we encourage reading as well,” Xi said. “This is a great chance for kids to tell their stories that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to tell.”

Stories can be anything related to the contest prompt. Every student who submits a story will be able to pick up a goody bag that includes school supplies and books Book Bridge gathered through a book drive.

The contest will run through Sept. 12.

Here’s how it works:

  • Elementary students of any age write their story or draw a picture representing a story based on the prompt: “Tell a story about something that happened to you during your time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
  • Parents help their children submit a photo of their story, along with their name and grade, by sending an email to bookbridgestorytime@gmail.com.
  • Book Bridge members will read over submissions and will create handwritten notes for each participant.
  • Submissions will be split into two categories: grades k-2 and grades 3-5. Book Bridge members will select the top three stories from each category to receive a free backpack along with their goody bag.

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“In reading young students’ entries, I am most looking forward to seeing the student’s optimism and ability to adapt during pandemic times. I find it uplifting and encouraging that many are still able to have fun, learn new things, and see the good in the bad,” said Book Bridge co-president Allison Guo through email. “This contest, thus, gives these students an opportunity to not only express themselves in a creative way but also a chance to appreciate what they have gained from their time at home.”

Guo said she is most excited about responding to young students to promote a feeling of togetherness through shared experiences.

Book Bridge member Taylor Stites said that it will be interesting to see how kids are responding to the pandemic and if they enjoy being at home. Stites said the pen-pal aspect of the contest will help students get individual attention, and that it may be comforting for participants to hear that other people are also struggling during the pandemic.

Matthew McMorrough, another Book Bridge member, is interested in seeing different perspectives on the pandemic that contest participants will have.

Learn more about the COVID-19: Tell Us Your Story contest here.


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