Alverno High School Students Share Children’s Stories with St. Rita School

Allison Cheng, Chloe Howorth, Sofia Gonzalez, Allison Johnson, Calista Chambers, Britni Delgado, Allison Johnson, Ms. Jannifer Heiner

Students in Alverno High School’s Creative Writing class recently wrote and illustrated children’s stories to share with the first grade students at St. Rita Catholic School in Sierra Madre.

As a preparation for their writing, Alverno’s Creative Writing teacher Ms. Jannifer Heiner invited St. Rita’s first grade teacher and Alverno Alumna Ms. Ellen Behrens Hoffman ’74 to visit the class and share some of the stories that her students enjoyed reading. During her visit to campus, Ms. Hoffman shared that her students enjoyed humorous stories, stories about animals, and stories that had an element of predictability within them.

Charged with the task, the members of the Creative Writing class got to work creating wonderful stories that fit the mold described by Ms. Hoffman. After working through several drafts, creating illustrations, and receiving feedback from Ms. Heiner over a few weeks, the Alverno students headed over to St. Rita to share their stories with the students.

In total, there were six books shared with the students that included exciting themes, adventures, and beautiful illustrations. The stories shared were:

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Tucker by Allison Johnson (11th Grade)– Tucker is the story of an elephant who learns an important lesson on his first day of school—that he doesn’t have to be anyone but himself. By the end of the book, Tucker has accepted that his long trunk and big ears are different than his jungle classmates but also what make him special. In addition to being a current Alverno student, Allison is a St. Rita Alumna who was previously taught by Ms. Hoffman in first grade!

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Kai and the Big Surprise by Britni Delgado (11th Grade)– In Kai and the Big Surprise, Kai wishes and prays for a little brother every day. When Kai finally thinks his wish has been granted, he is in for a big surprise when his mother hands him a baby sister.

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Addy’s Adventure by Calista Chambers (11th Grade)– Another story about an elephant, Addy’s Adventure follows Addy as she goes on an exciting adventure throughout the jungle before realizing that home is really where she is meant to be.

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Ollie the Mini Makes New Friends by Emma Uttley (12th Grade) shared by Sofia Gonzalez (11th Grade) and Gillian Cox (12th Grade)– In Ollie the Mini Makes New Friends, Ollie, a miniature horse, has just arrived at a new farm only to find that no one wants to be his friend because of his size. All of the other horses worry about catching Ollie’s “mini-ness” and shy away from him before a wise old mare reminds them that being little is just what makes Ollie special.

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Skippy the Underdog by Chloe Howorth (11th Grade)– Skippy of Skippy the Underdog isn’t just an ordinary dog, he’s a super hero! Well, at least he thinks he is. Skippy may not have the super powers he thinks he has but what he does have is a whole lot of super love.

Kitten’s First Bath by Allison Cheng (11th Grade)– Kitten’s First Bath is the story of a kitten who will go to great lengths to avoid taking his bath. Through beautiful illustrations created with torn paper, the reader gets to see all of the crazy things he will do to avoid the tub before eventually enjoying a nice relaxing bubble bath.

“My first graders loved the special visit from Alverno’s Creative Writing Class, said Ms. Ellen Behrens Hoffman, St. Rita First Grade Teacher and Alverno Alumna. “The children’s stories that the girls shared were imaginative and entertaining, and I know my kids were impressed. They thought the girls were real famous authors!”

“The girls really enjoyed working on these stories and created some beautiful final products,” said Ms. Jannifer Heiner, English and Creative Writing Teacher. “The first graders at St. Rita loved them and really engaged with the girls as they were reading, which provided a positive experience for both groups. We look forward to creating some more works to be able to share in the future.”

About Alverno High School

Alverno High School is an independent, progressive, Catholic high school for young women dedicated to preparing them to function in a society as informed, knowledgeable persons, who have the requisite skills to make and implement mature decisions about complex problems. Enlivened by the spirit of its Immaculate Heart Community sponsors, and mindful of the Franciscan roots of its founders, Alverno’s program—academic, spiritual, aesthetic, social, and physical—is shaped by the staff, trustees, and students in light of the world for which the students are being educated. Alverno’s mission is to empower each young woman to be exactly the person she wants to be and since 1960, Alverno has empowered more than 4,500 women to meet that goal. For more information about Alverno High School, please call (626) 355-3463 or visit



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