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Handwritten is a place and space for pen and paper. We showcase things in handwriting, but also on handwriting. And so, you'll see dated letters and distant postcards alongside recent studies and typed stories. 

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They Have a Dream • 4th Grade Students from St. Stan's

Brett Rawson

BY HANDWRITTEN

In the fourth grade hallway of St. Stanislaus Kaska Catholic Academy in Williamsburg, there is a row of handwritten dreams. 

Written inside a cloud, each one begins at the edge of the historical echo: I have a dream...

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The dream above? It starts with a call to stop littering in parks. "If you see trash on in the park, don't just look at it, pick it up and throw it in the trash!" And then it expands: "Another example of how to stop pollution is to ride bikes or walk more because cars create carbon dioxide." These kids dream big, but that's because they see the larger picture.

Are some of these dreams political? Yes, but only because they are personal: 

"I have a dream that everyone can have equal rights. For me equal rights means all girls will have the opportunity to get the same education as boys which is still not possible in many countries. It means the same pay because we all work equally as hard as should be paid fairly. It means people, no matter the color of their skin, will be included and not discriminated against. I Have a Dream that we will stand together as one."

The thing about these dreams, and this handwritten project, is that it's not just some thing these students do once a year. And it's not just an activity to keep kids busy, or to check off a curricular box. At St. Stan's, handwriting is core to the curriculum because it is fundamental to a student's growth, development, and understanding. It is through the act of writing by hand that students come closer to themselves, our history, and each other.

"The MLK writing assignment was a way for students to envision a world where all people of all backgrounds and ethnicities could live in peace and harmony," says 4th Grade Teacher Mrs. Zito. "The writing assignment was followed by a film clip of a young MLK and the beginning of the civil right movement." 

"'I have a dream' that one day there will be no violence in the world. I wish that one day there will be equal rights for everybody. I have a dream that all women will have the right to vote. I hope that everyone will show kindness to people they meet, no brutal behavior. We will show respect to one another and not bully those who are different from us. I have a dream that there shall be no more hunger, all people will donate to soup kitchens. If one day these dreams come true, all will be wonderful."

On our visit, we had the chance to meet and talk with the driving force of the academy: Principal Christina Cieloszczyk.

"We believe that even in these times of increasing dependence on internet and social media," says Mrs. C, "connections between people, handwriting — namely script — is definitely not a lost art. Our students are taught script beginning in 2nd grade. They polish up the skill in 3rd grade so that by 4th grade, the expectation is that the majority of their work is done in script."

Each hallway is evidence of this. Handwriting, and not just in script form, is everywhere.

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We know education is the key to unlocking doors. We know handwriting benefits the brain on neurological and physiological levels. We know an understanding of the past strengthens our ability to understand the present. And we know that engaging students with the issues of today prepare us, and them, for those that lie ahead. We hope the selection of letters below will bring you a little bit of energy, and re-ignite your dreams, if they're not already on fire. 

"If I was able to change the world, I would wish there will be no crime and no poverty. There would be peace and everyone would have a good job. Every child would be educated. Also I would want to save the planet. I would ask people to stop cutting trees and to preserve forests. I wish to eliminate air pollution by giving people free bikes to ride instead of using cars."

"If I was able to change the world, I would wish there will be no crime and no poverty. There would be peace and everyone would have a good job. Every child would be educated. Also I would want to save the planet. I would ask people to stop cutting trees and to preserve forests. I wish to eliminate air pollution by giving people free bikes to ride instead of using cars."

"I Have a Dream of a world where all children have an education. There will be no more homeless, hungry, or poor people and no stray pets. I think of a world where scientists have a cure for cancer, alcoholism, and other diseases. I believe that gender doesn't matter and woman are just as strong as men. In the future, there will be many woman presidents and bosses. Everyone will live fair, safe, and happy lives."

"I Have a Dream of a world where all children have an education. There will be no more homeless, hungry, or poor people and no stray pets. I think of a world where scientists have a cure for cancer, alcoholism, and other diseases. I believe that gender doesn't matter and woman are just as strong as men. In the future, there will be many woman presidents and bosses. Everyone will live fair, safe, and happy lives."

"I have a dream to try to bring peace to countries that fight over land and other things. I also wish that there will be enough drinking water and food for everyone. I would like to bring kindness to everyone in the world, as there wouldn't be a lot of crime. Last but not least I wish that people would recycle more."

"I have a dream to try to bring peace to countries that fight over land and other things. I also wish that there will be enough drinking water and food for everyone. I would like to bring kindness to everyone in the world, as there wouldn't be a lot of crime. Last but not least I wish that people would recycle more."

"My second dream is that there are more cures for cancers so people won't suffer anymore."

"My second dream is that there are more cures for cancers so people won't suffer anymore."

"For my last dream, I wish for people to stop cursing in front or near children." 

"For my last dream, I wish for people to stop cursing in front or near children." 

"I Have a Dream that people are nice to each other all the time. In my dream, I want people not hurting or bullying one another. Even though people have different skin color and look different, we should treat them nicely and with respect. I want no one to feel sad or lonely because they are different. I also want people to accept others for who they are. We should respect people, opinions and believes. People also have to enjoy what they have and be happy how they are. If we are happy, the world would be a better place for everybody." 

"I Have a Dream that people are nice to each other all the time. In my dream, I want people not hurting or bullying one another. Even though people have different skin color and look different, we should treat them nicely and with respect. I want no one to feel sad or lonely because they are different. I also want people to accept others for who they are. We should respect people, opinions and believes. People also have to enjoy what they have and be happy how they are. If we are happy, the world would be a better place for everybody." 

"One day I hope that bullying won't exist. Bullying makes people feel bad about themselves. Many people are afraid to speak up about bullying. I want to change all that by encouraging people to be kind and caring to everyone and everything. In school I would like to form a group where kids can go to talk about bullying and about how we can stop it. I would help people understand that bullying can be stopped if everyone stands together to make a difference."

"One day I hope that bullying won't exist. Bullying makes people feel bad about themselves. Many people are afraid to speak up about bullying. I want to change all that by encouraging people to be kind and caring to everyone and everything. In school I would like to form a group where kids can go to talk about bullying and about how we can stop it. I would help people understand that bullying can be stopped if everyone stands together to make a difference."

Oh, and did we mention they have a handwriting award they hand out at the end of every year? 

Oh, and did we mention they have a handwriting award they hand out at the end of every year? 

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With thanks to St. Stan's Board Advisor Tatiana Serafin for telling us about this lovely project, and for inviting us in to take photographs, and get to know one school that takes handwriting to the heart.