In February a student of mine ran up to me before class and said she had a surprise for me. Then she opened the palm of her hand, and there was a yellow, #2 pencil that was one inch tall. It was birthday gift for me because she knew how much I love pencils in all shapes and sizes. I’d told my students to find a way to celebrate National Pencil Month, and she decided that giving pencil gifts was a good way to start the party.

This gift made me remember the wonderful pencil that Ashrita Furman gave to humanitarian, writer and artist Sri Chinmoy in 2007. To commemorate Chinmoy’s 76th birthday, Furman built him a 76-foot, 18,000 pound pencil. Forty volunteers from twenty different countries helped on the project. The pencil was so big that it earned Furman a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.

For the past 26 years WITS has given “the gift of the pencil” to students throughout the city of Houston. We teach children that the power and pleasure of writing is at their fingertips. Go, pencils! Go, writers!

by Marcia Chamberlain, Writers in the Schools

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