Write-on students raise funds for cancer research

Creativity and community combine at Windsor High School in a fundraiser that also tests students’ brainpower. Kristi Pritchard-Owens reports.

Image: Write on: Guest author Peter Rix and teacher Sally Fisher work with students as part of the competition.

Many people may have wondered whether they could, one day, write a book. But how many people could write a book in one day?

At Windsor High School the answer is 31; provided they’re allowed to form teams and raise an impressive amount of money for charity at the same time.

“We were definitely surprised with the numbers, we were expecting about 15,” English teacher Courtney Burgess said.

“I think everyone was a bit shocked that it was so big and they’ve done so well with it.”

Write a Book in a Day is an annual fundraiser for The Kids’ Cancer Project, a national charity that supports childhood cancer research.

Groups of between five and 10 students are given 12 hours to write and fully illustrate an original book.

To ensure there’s no cheating, the groups are sent a list of five randomly generated words which they only get to see a few hours before writing starts and must be included in the story.

“So they couldn’t really plan, they had to make it up on the day,” Ms Burgess said.

Windsor High formed five teams, each required to write at least 3500 words.

Ms Burgess and English faculty colleague Sally Fisher run a weekly writing group at the school with a core of around 10 students, but for most participants, storytelling as a team sport was a new concept.

And the hard work wasn’t finished once the books were.

“They also have to fundraise, and honestly, I don’t know how they did it,” Ms Burgess said.

“They’ve really just run with it the kids, they’re amazing.”

At last count, Windsor High School had raised $2615 for the kids’ cancer charity.

What makes it even more remarkable is a large part of the community was severely impacted by floods just a few months ago, with some families yet to return to their homes.

“I started teaching at this school two years ago and I’ve really been blown away by the community here, everyone is always here for each other,” Ms Burgess said.

The winning books will be announced in November.

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