Kids' Guide to Sunrise

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A Sunrise Leadership Academy Class of 2015 Service Project

  SLA Guidebook Team 


Members of the SLA guidebook team (disguised as
tourists) prepare for their first visit to Sandpiper.

The Sunrise Leadership Academy (SLA) and Sandpiper Elementary School are proud to present the Kids’ Guide to Sunrise,” a student-written guidebook spotlighting the local destinations and dining options that fourth graders love most. Copies are available at Sunrise City Hall.

The guidebook – the SLA Class of 2015’s service-learning project – is the result of a unique and creative collaboration:

• Sandpiper Elementary School Principal Camille LaChance rallied behind the project, and the school’s fourth grade teaching team – Ms. Lorna Edwards, Mr. Cory Adler, Ms. Barrie Avitan, Ms. Heather Emery and Ms. Betty Sebaste – contributed their time and expertise.

• Christiana Lilly of the Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Pro Chapter, helped brainstorm the book’s format.

• Graduate students from Florida International University’s Creative Writing MFA program – Ashley M. Jones, Ellene Moore, and Laurel Nakanishi – provided invaluable support, mentoring the SLA students and helping to oversee creative writing sessions at Sandpiper. Volunteers from the Orange Island Arts Foundation – Laura McDermott, Jan Becker and Sarah Pearsall – also contributed their creative talents.

• Interviewees for the guidebook’s “Sunrise VIPs” section included Deputy Mayor Donald K. Rosen, Candy Cottage owner Sherri Price, Assistant Utilities Director Gio Batista, and Leisure Services Division Director Kevin Pickard.

• The Sunrise Utilities Department, Sam’s Club, and Fanatics Authentic hosted field trips, and Metropica underwrote the bus transportation.

Of course, the real stars of the book are the authors! Special thanks go to the more than 120 Sandpiper Elementary School fourth graders who contributed their insights and writing talents to the “Kids’ Guide to Sunrise.”

The project was inspired by “I Wrote a Guidebook and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt” – a lesson plan developed by the non-profit creative writing and tutoring network 826 National. The “Kids’ Guide to Sunrise” highlights our City, and helped to boost writing skills and expose students to a range of businesses and future job opportunities.

On April 14, the SLA hosted a Publication Celebration at Sandpiper Elementary in honor of the guidebook’s completion. Mayor Michael J. Ryan congratulated the students, and the fourth graders read their guidebook entries aloud and signed autographs. In addition, children’s author/illustrator Elisabeth Dahl took part in a Q&A via Skype and encouraged the students to keep writing. (Visit the Broward County School Board's BECON-TV website for a video about the event.)

About the Sunrise Leadership Academy
The SLA, founded in 2009, is a hands-on civic engagement program for local teens. Student leaders from Piper, Plantation, Western, and Nova high schools are nominated by their teachers and administrators for participation in the award-winning program.

Each academic year brings a new group of students and a new range of experiences. The City’s goal is to inspire these young adults to follow their dreams, and to empower them to give back to our community.

For the past three years, the SLA has centered on a collaborative service-learning project. The Class of 2013 created a thriving citywide network of Little Free Libraries, and the Class of 2014 developed and hosted a “Fun, Food and Fitness Day” for Village Elementary students. The Class of 2015 is excited to publish the “Kids’ Guide to Sunrise.”