LEESBURG – 19-year-old Leesburg High School graduate Haley Rouse returned to her old playground on Friday to present her recently published book, “Yes You Can! – Learn to write in a fun and easy way ”to the children of the Leesburg elementary school.
In fifth grade, Rouse realized that most of her peers looked down on writing, so she started to think of ways to make it fun because it was one of her favorite things to do.
“I would sit and write short stories and poems,” Rouse said. “It doesn’t have to be tedious and anyone can do it. This is what I wanted my book to talk about. You can do whatever you want if you believe in it. “
She pitched the idea to her grandmother and former schoolteacher, Sue Thomas, who helped her work on the project until it was published in 2017, her final year, despite medical obstacles encountered along the way.
Rouse was diagnosed with severe scoliosis and Thomas underwent cancer treatment.
After completing the contents of the book, Rouse was puzzled as to how to illustrate it. She eventually came up with the idea of using her own fingerprints to create characters.
“I think that sums up the whole idea of the book that you can do anything,” Rouse said. “I’m not an artist, but I didn’t let myself be stopped. I want kids to see that just because they think they can’t do something doesn’t mean they can’t try to be successful.
Currently a student at Lake-Sumter State College, Rouse has set up an after-school workshop for children in grades three, four and five at Leesburg Elementary School to teach them her skills. Rouse described how easy and fun writing can be, with topics they wanted to write about like ice cream and cookies.
“I think it’s great for the kids because it gives them the necessary focus and focus that they might need,” said third-grade teacher Jordan Ritter. “It’s very cool that she graduated from Leesburg. It’s a great representation and it shows kids that they can do anything if they work for it.
At the end of the session, Rouse presented each child with a copy of her book, which she said is like a workbook that they can take home and use to practice.
“Writing is used in most aspects of life,” Rouse said. “Teaching it while they are young will help them in whatever direction of life they decide to go. “