The Fantastic Four

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Of the nearly 80 journals that I have filled over the last 28 years, these four stand in a class of their own. They may be my most valued notebooks — not because of what they contain, but because of how they were acquired. They were gifts from two students.

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In 2014, a pair of my Honors 10 sophomores — Meagan W. and Kathryn L. — presented me with these four custom-designed composition books. When these talented young ladies unveiled the fruits of their labor, I was stunned. And ever since then, I have remained immensely grateful for their care, thoughtfulness, and creativity. Producing these notebooks required an inspired vision, an extraordinary focus, and many hours of labor.

I can honestly say that every time I picked up one of these journals to pen an entry — all of which were composed between Oct. 10, 2014 and Mar. 18, 2016 — I felt the warm rush of pride. Not only was I the fortunate recipient of these students’ gifts, I was able to actively “model them” for over a year and a half in front of the next cohort of Honors 10 enrollees. These four notebooks served as my in-class writing destinations for the 5-minute free-writes that I led with two classes of Honors 10 sophomores every day.

These unique composition books deserve some additional attention because of (1) how they were crafted, (2) the degree of detail that their covers’ contain, and (3) the depth to which they capture aspects of Meagan’s and Kathryn’s experiences in our classroom. I will publish a separate blog post about each notebook in the weeks to come. As part of these posts I will provide additional images of their exteriors, a photo of the first entry that I composed in each one, and a transcription of that entry.

Meagan and Kathryn — who are now accomplished students at Central Michigan University and Michigan State, respectively — have left an indelible mark on their 10th grade English teacher. More importantly, they have touched the life of the person who filled that role. For this reason, Meagan and Kathryn will remain the Dynamic Duo who presented me with The Fantastic Four. They have my enduring and heartfelt thanks.

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