Testimonials from Galway High School staff and students who participated in an eCommPublishing project in 2009.
"21st Century Skills is a phrase that is often referenced. Educators, parents, and students looking for an example of these skills need only look to The Village Press and it's first publication titled, The Life Between Two Cities, as an outstanding model to show us how students can integrate information presented in school and apply it on the job, at home, in their communities, and in further studies. The book is a stunning example of what can be accomplished when educators collaborate across subject areas to provide their students with the opportunity to engage in something connected to the real world and valued outside the school setting." - Trent Clay - Galway Central School District Director of Curriculum and Instruction
"Our students' creation of The Village Press (Publishing Company) and subsequent soliciting, editing, promoting, printing, and sale of their peer's work in their own book has been a comprehensive and authentic learning experience. The project engaged students in real-world problem solving across a spectrum of academic disciplines and in so doing, swept the entire student body into the excitement of what can be accomplished when students are passionate about their work and teachers have coached their students to initiate and create on their own. The book, The Life Between Two Cities, stands as a testimony of diligent student work, committed teachers, and real learning." - Peter J. Bednarek - Galway, NY - High School Principal
"My students and I can't believe we designed, published and printed a book! This project added real life work experience for my students throughout the entire school year. The tasks were authentic and results were easily measured. The lessons plans were simple to follow while skillfully guiding us the through each section of the book publishing process. My school district now has a student publishing company, The Village Press. This project has helped me integrate curriculum throughout the school district and across disciplines while inspiring me to perform more real world business projects in the future." - Mark Swain - Galway High School Business Teacher & Advisor of The Village Press
"This book project really brought our community together and fostered student pride in Galway. All of my students really enjoyed the challenge of writing a story about their town, and even the ones that weren't chosen for the final publication truly grew as writers. The best part is the final result that everybody in the school can see: their work published in a book that people are clambering to buy." - Kristin Ostrander - Galway High School English Teacher & Department Chair
"Project-based learning combined with real life experience brings a student's motivation to an entirely different level. The opportunity given by this project has created a level of healthy competition that mimics the real world of graphic advertising." - Maureen Mierzwa - High School Digital Art Teacher, Galway NY
"The project is dynamic in the English classroom. Students who shy away from writing essays were thrilled to come to class and work on a creative writing venture, knowing full well there was an opportunity for publication and that their siblings in the high school were engaged in the same process. They compared ideas with their peers and were proud to amass pages of writing. It was eye-opening to see how some of their narratives gave voice to the hopes and concerns of today's adolescent. Attempting to inspire the writing of complete, quality narratives can seem daunting to a seasoned educator who feels comfortable coaching students to write essays and poetry, but attempting to compose a narrative and try to emulate what good authors do has made my students more observant and appreciative readers of fiction.
One of my students had tears in his eyes when he heard his work was going to be included in the publication and later wrote me an e-mail thanking me for the opportunity. Another student is practicing his signature for the book signing. A student whose work wasn't selected though she spent several days in my room during study hall working through her character's conflict and her wording expressed pride in her classmates' work when she heard who had been selected and she continues to write daily.
As an English teacher, I always encourage students to submit their work to different publications and contests, but this project gave the students the opportunity to collectively become aware of publishing as an option and celebrate each other's successes in a community setting." - Karen Decker - 7th Grade English Teacher, Galway NY
Testimonials from Galway High School Business Students who participated in the project:
"After working on this (eCommPublishing) book project, I feel that I acquired important real-world experience that I will be able to apply to my future career." - Aki ("Aki" was a huge technical contributor to the Galway book. A gifted computer user, he prepared all of the electronic files used to print the cover and text pages of the finished book. In addition, Aki documented many of these tasks and his notes are being incorporated into the eCommPublishing project materials to help future students create similar electronic files.)
"It was just an overall incredible experience...If it weren't for this project I wouldn't have discovered my new found talent for marketing." - Marc (Marc was the project's head commercial designer who produced commercials for the book that appeared on Galway High School's closed circuit TV station.)
"I loved it. When I first started the book project I was sort of bummed. It just seemed like a lot of work with no reward. However, as time went on, I realized that not only could this be an outlet for my writing prowess, but it could also help me focus that talent into business, which is something I plan to go to college for." - Justin (Justin was Head Editor of Village Press and also was in charge of human resources for the student-managed publishing company.)