(WSVN) - Students are wrapping up what has been a difficult school year, and in one South Florida classroom, students are expressing all the “Hopes and Fears” they felt during the pandemic. As 7’s Kevin Ozebek shows us in tonight’s special assignment report, it has turned them into published authors.

Glenda Moton, teacher, North Miami Senior High: “So, good morning, good morning, good morning. Is everybody ready?”

It’s a new day in Ms. Moton’s language arts class, and these students are about to get much more than your standard ninth grade English lesson.

Glenda Moton: “You know that your voices really matter.”

Inside her North Miami Senior High classroom, Glenda Moton takes pride in the relationship she has built with her students.

So, last year, as the pandemic hit and learning moved online, she could tell even through Zoom many students were struggling.

Glenda Moton: “As an educator, you can sense, you can hear, you can see, and you just know. I wanted to hear what they had to say, and I said to them, ‘What are some of your hopes, and what are some of your fears?'”

Ms. Moton had the students write them down. This is just a sample of what they submitted.

Destinee Pierre, student: “I hope that my loved ones can stay safe and healthy.”

Hugens Jnlouis, student: “I have a fear of financial instability.”

Lee-Yahna Lawson, student: “I fear that I might die or someone close to me might die from this virus.”

While the beginning of the pandemic was focused on protecting the elderly, Ms. Moton was reading essays that proved just how profoundly COVID-19 was affecting her students.

Destinee Pierre: “I hope for a better and healthier world.”

Hugens Jnlouis: “I have a fear of depression.”

Lee-Yahna Lawson: “I hope that this pandemic will be over, and we’ll be able to do the things we love.”

Glenda Moton: “I learned that there is a level of compassion, of empathy. There is sorrow. There is hurt. It made me look at life and at them in a different light.”

Ms. Moton found their writing so eye-opening, she decided to self-publish them as a book called “Hopes and Fears: Learning Academically in a COVID-19 Environment.”

Glenda Moton: “Their story, their voice, their way, and I ‘m so proud of the work that they have actually produced.”

Now these students will be leaving ninth grade as published authors, and they learned this life lesson.

Glenda Moton: “That when you’re writing, it’s like a release. It’s a healing.”

Kevin Ozebek: “Raise you hand if you felt better after writing down your hopes and your fears.”

(All students raise their hands.)

Kevin Ozebek: “So, is it an ‘A’ for your teacher, then?”

Students: “Yes!”

After a year that brought them so much stress, these high school students say this is an assignment they actually enjoyed.

Destinee Pierre: “I felt happy that I was able to put everything that I felt into words. I felt really good with myself.”

Hugens Jnlouis: “Once you write it down or talk about it, you feel like a weight is lifted off of your shoulders.”

Lee-Yahna Lawson: “I felt a sense of relief and gratitude towards Ms. Moton for allowing me to be a part of this.”

Now Ms. Moton hopes teenagers and adults who read the book will also come to learn the power of putting pen to paper.

Glenda Moton: “If you’re dealing with something, the best way that you can conquer those fears and those anxieties and depression is to write.”

You can buy a copy of “Hopes and Fears” on Amazon. Proceeds will cover the cost of publishing. What’s left after that will go into a scholarship fund for the students who wrote the essays.

Copyright 2021 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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