Last spring, the eighth-grade students in Jake Spears’ English classes at Montross Middle School did a little project based on a learning exercise. Students wrote poems that were transformed into a poetry book and a magnificent quilt created by Spears’ mother.
The Poetry Quilt and books have been on display at Montross First Friday events, various school events and an evening at the Art of Coffee. Patrons and followers of the quilt could purchase raffle tickets or buy the poetry book, “The Poetry Quilt: Changing Perception of Westmoreland County.”
The quilt was displayed at the Montross Fall Festival on Oct. 5, and a drawing was held to determine the lucky winner who would take possession of the incredible quilt, featuring the work of 29 students who came out of their comfort zones to write about their lives.
As the final tally was done, the Montross Middle School’s poetry quilt had earned $524 from raffle and poetry book sales. The money will be used to purchase new writing tools and books for the English department.
Spears was delighted with the outpouring of love and respect the quilt had created for all who reviewed it and purchased the poetry book. He cited one example: “One of the most impressive buys was a visitor to the Northern Neck who attended the June First Friday event in Montross. She heard one of our students, Allyson Foor, recite her poems and was moved by her emotions toward her tribute poem for Mrs. DeLaney. (Mrs. DeLaney lost her brave battle to illness last year.) The stranger then bought $25 worth of raffle tickets, placing them all in Allyson’s name; she also bought a poetry book.”
The winner of the Poetry Quilt was Yolanda Garnica, who has a daughter, Susie Hernadez, at Montross Middle School. The delighted winner had never won anything before and was very excited about winning the quilt.
Congratulations to Spears and the students for creating this wonderful gift to the community. The story of the Poetry Quilt will become a fond memory for all who were involved. Copies of the poetry book are still available at Montross Middle School.