Fifth graders from Latona Elementary School were recently awarded with certificates and a pizza wrap party for participating in a Young Storytellers program which introduced them to the fundamentals of screenwriting and storytelling. Young Storytellers is a program that uses one-on-one mentorship to teach low-income students at public schools in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Austin how to write original stories. Sponsorship from the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council enabled Latona to offer this program to their students.

Over the course of 8 weeks, each student wrote their own 5-page screenplay, which could be on whatever topic they wanted. There were scripts about cheerleaders, dogs that turned into alarm clocks, robot buildings, and braving the walk to school alone.

In mid-November, the students got to see their work in action at a “Big Show,” where a team of professional actors performed the students’ scripts in front of the school and the writers’ families. Hearing the audience response and seeing their words and ideas brought to life was a powerful experience for these young students.