The coronavirus, which locked down schools and businesses across the country, left no stone unturned, and Summit Elementary third-graders along with teacher Cynthia Butler took it upon themselves to document their wild ride during the spring semester.
“During the coronavirus pandemic, my scholars became published authors,” Butler said before handing out printed versions of the book to her students at the school on Friday. “I’m hoping this will serve as a memory aid for the babies. They will always remember this. Whenever anybody asks the babies about coronavirus ... they will be able to pull out this book.”
The book, titled “The ‘Thief’ That Stole my 3rd Grade Year,” was originally meant to be a fourth nine weeks project for Butler’s students, and she worried the pandemic would stop that project since students did not return after spring break.
“We did not return to school after spring break. That being the case, I reached out to my parents, and they agreed to help with this project,” she said. “With the help of parents, we were able to create our very own class book.”
The book is comprised of pages written by children, along with their pictures and drawings. The pages document what the students did during the pandemic and how it affected their lives.
“This book was built by the children and their parents from the ground up,” Butler said. “The book would not have taken place if it weren’t for the parents, so I thank you all very much.”
When Butler says the book was created from cover to cover by her and the families of her students, she means it, noting that the cover itself was illustrated by parent Terri Quinn. Every parent that was involved received a VIP — “very important parent” — certificate.
Butler said she was proud of the participation from the parents and students, noting that 21 out of 38 families had a hand in the creation of the book.
“Whenever we start thinking about the parents that participated, we had some essential workers that participated, too. We had parents of every socio-economic level,” she said.
Butler said her brother, First Bank Senior Vice President Curtis Butler, sponsored the project so that every student got a copy of the book.
He said Cynthia Butler “is very committed to your children as a teacher ... but their commitment means very little if you don’t get it from the parents.
“If we get a solid commitment from parents like you, our schools are going to be even better.”
McComb literacy support specialist Dr. Kristin Brown, along with superintendent Dr. Cederick Ellis and school board president Eliece Rayborn, attended the presentation of the books Friday in the school cafeteria.
“Just looking at the crowd and the scholars, this book represents diversity,” Brown said. “What a beautiful thing. Let’s continue to read; let’s continue to grow, and let’s continue to implement what you learned during this process.”