Reader Contributed Schools

Speak Up Storytelling Event Will Support Sedgwick Kids Lit Team Travel to International Competition

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‘School Stories’ will be told on Friday, May 3, at 7 p.m. at Sedgwick Middle School in West Hartford.

By Ronni Newton

A cast of storytellers, many of whom have personal ties to West Hartford Public Schools, will be entertaining guests at a Speak Up Storytelling event on Friday, May 3, beginning at 7 p.m., as a fundraiser that will help offset the cost to the Sedgwick Middle School Kids Lit Team for their travel to international competition in Australia this summer.

The team of West Hartford middle schoolers earned the entrance into the international finals with their winning performance in the U.S. competition in February. The Kids Lit competition challenges the literary knowledge of children ages 10-13 with questions on a wide range of books, authors, and genres.

Matthew Dicks, the artistic director of Speak Up Storytelling and a fifth-grade teacher at West Hartford’s Wolcott Elementary School, will headline the event. In addition to teaching and storytelling, he is an internationally bestselling author, comedian, blogger, wedding DJ, minister, and communications consultant. Dicks is a record 60-time Moth StorySLAM champion and nine-time GrandSLAM champion whose stories have been featured on their nationally syndicated Moth Radio Hour.

Elysha Dicks will host the show.

Matthew Dicks said Friday’s line-up of storytellers includes:

  • Seth Wickersham, a senior writer at ESPN, where he has worked since graduating from the Missouri School of Journalism. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller “It’s Better to Be Feared.” His next book, on quarterbacks, will be published in 2025.
  • Steve Brouse is a Sedgwick Middle School vice principal who has been teaching and coaching in West Hartford for 13 years. He is a Speak Up alum who spends his free time coaching sports for his three sons.
  • Amy Mahoney supervises English Language Arts and Reading teachers in West Hartford Public Schools. She is a storyteller, reader, eating enthusiast, and mother to three blondes: two kiddos and a labrador retriever. Amy has told stories for Hartford-based storytelling groups Speak Up, Tell Me Another, and the MOuTH and on the Moth stage.
  • Marcus Burrus is a Navy veteran and retired police officer who currently works in the West Hartford Public Schools system as a security officer, protecting kids but also getting to help them learn some important life skills like conflict resolution and basic respect for one another.
  • Priya Gupta is a resident of Southington and the founder/author of Hindi Kay Bol, an independent publisher specializing in bilingual Hindi-English resources for multicultural children worldwide. She grew up in India and moved to Connecticut 13 years ago for her husband’s job. She has published seven titles, and her YouTube channel focuses on content for younger kids.

Tickets can be purchased online through this link: https://bit.ly/4bhQCzF

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