Cary District 26 to honor teacher with writing day

CARY – Pat Sylvester always encouraged Cary District 26 students to write, and when the National Council of Teachers of English established a National Writing Day, Sylvester pushed for students to participate.

“Mrs. Sylvester loved writing and had a passion for instilling this love of writing in her students,” Superintendent Brian Coleman wrote in a district newsletter.

In honor of National Writing Day, Cary District 26 will have its traditional writing exercises. But this year, they will do so in honor of Sylvester, who died in the spring after a battle with skin cancer.

“Pat was instrumental in getting all the schools to participate in National Writing Day,” Cary Junior High eighth-grade teacher Kathy Englund said.

On National Writing Day, schools encourage students to write for enjoyment, Englund said.

“We tell students writing is a form of communication that is necessary to be successful in life,” Englund said.

Englund added Sylvester always told students they had “a world of stories to share.”

Sylvester, who was a teacher in the district for more than 30 years, taught fifth, sixth and eighth grade. She taught English at the junior high and worked as the gifted program coordinator.

She also taught at the now closed Oak Knoll and Prairie Hill schools.

The National Council of Teachers of English set Oct. 20 as the annual National Day of Writing. Since then, teachers in District 26 have led students in a variety of writing activities and projects, Coleman wrote.

In 2013, Sylvester organized the first district-wide Day of Writing.

This year, the district is calling its National Day of Writing activities the Sylvester’s Symposium of Writing.

At 9 a.m. Monday, students in the district will stop what they’re doing and write for 26 minutes. Students in all grade levels will be able to choose any topic to write about, Englund said. Many eighth-graders who had Sylvester as a teacher may write about memories of her.

The day is meant to emphasize the lifelong process of learning to write and composing for different audiences, purposes and occasions, Coleman wrote.

“It is a day that encourages all learners, children and adults, to write and learn from writing of others,” Coleman wrote. “Although Mrs. Sylvester is no longer with us, the results of her outstanding teaching and love for writing will continue to live on as we celebrate Sylvester’s Symposium of Writing each year.”

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