ZODML’s May Senior Secondary Reading Programme (SSRP), an interactive reading session with government secondary school students,was between 26 students from Wahab Folawiyo Senior High School and Akande Dahunsi Memorial Senior High School. The students had an interactive reading session at its Community Library with Wale Haruna ZODML’s Library Officer.
The discussion was about ‘Bearstone by Will Hobbs’ a story in the “Strengthening Bonds” collection by Catherine Snow. ‘Bearstone’ told of a young Native American boy named Cloyd Atcitty, who was kicked out of a group home for troubled youths. He was sent to work on a farm for Walter Landis near Colorado Rockies. In the farm, Cloyd discovered a bear carving which has a symbolic meaning for his tribe.
Wale asked the students to share the moral lessons in the story. They responded by mentioning acts of kindness, making sacrifices and keeping tradition amongst others. The students were then asked to talk about their tribes. It was surprising to note that they came from many different tribes in Nigeria and Ghana, such as Fulani, Efik, Yom, Yoruba, Igala. The students also spoke of the unique food, dressing, facial marks and culture of their tribe.
The different writing genres were explained to the students and examples,which included realistic fiction, historical fiction and narrative fiction were discussed.
After this, Wale read his favourite part of the story and shared the lesson in the quote:
“The hurt you get over makes you stronger.”
ZODML's Chief Librarian, Nkechi then showed the students round the library after which they were each issued a library card which they immediately used to borrow their favourite novels.
A regular practice at every of ZODML's interactive reading session involves asking 26 students to write a summary of the story being discussed, a short list of 6 have their piece judged. The top 3 were selected to read their piece aloud to everyone.
Wale as judge declared Oloyede Shadiat the winner. Read the winning piece here:
"After pondering and wondering, Cloyd Atcitty finally decided to stay with Walter Landis.
Then he went back to Susan James and told her that he had decided to stay with Walter until he gets well.
Cloyd spoke to Susan James to help him get a driver to drive Walter back to his farm because he strongly believes
that the farm is the only place where Walter will be able to get well but if he does not get back to his farm where he also
believes that is the only place where he could regain his strength. The situation will continue to get worse instead of getting better.
Finally after narrating the situation and how he felt about it and what he wanted to be done for Walter.
Susan James decides to keep her promise, she tried her best to make everything Cloyd said came to reality.
Cloyd finally got the chance to pay Walter back for what he has done for him in the past. And was also very excited
to stay with Walter because Walter was like a father to him.
On that very day, Cloyd and Susan James got in the bus and went to the hospital. On getting there,
they met Walker’s sister-in-law and they both payed the hospital bill and Walter was discharged from the hospital
and was also given some drugs to be taken for the main time and Etta returned back to Missouri.
Walter was taken back to his farm house when he got there, he was flabbergasted to be back in his farm house and
tears of joy started dropping out of his eyes because he thought he would never return back to his farm again.
Walter felt at home again. Cloyd stayed with Walter for so long taking good care of him and helping him to do his chores
on the farm also Susan James got a lesson teacher for Cloyd and he always managed his time to help Walter with his lesson work
Susan James always visits them and always and also invited a pastor to always pray for him and gradually Walter was getting better.
With time, he got to his normal state.
After sometime, Cloyd decides to go back to his grandmother and his sister and to school because he finally accomplished his mission and he felt
fulfilled from all he has learnt from Walter.
After some days he went to Susan James and told her that he was ready to go back home to meet his family and also going back to school.
The day Cloyd was ready to go, Cloyd embraced Walter and tears of joy rushed out of their eyes simultaneously. Walter stared at the bearstone
once again and said to Cloyd I will always treasure it and Cloyd put on a soft look and they both said goodbye to each other.
Cloyd was happy to be at home once again to see his family and he went back to school but every winter and summer he goes back to
the farm of Walter Landis to visit him and now Cloyd finally had the family he never had and the father he never had before."
Finally, group photographs were taken and one of the students gave a vote of thanks to ZODML for the opportunity they were given to participate in the programme.