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Storytelling Festival

2017 Garner Storytelling

A change is planned for 2017!  For thirteen years Garner Storytelling, a GEF community collaboration project focused on reading, has been organized by the media specialists from the eleven schools, in collaboration with the Wake County Public Libraries and GEF.  Professional storytellers and poets visited the schools during a week in the late winter or early spring each year and then participated in the Garner Storytelling Festival and Educator Workshop on Saturday.  At the Festival, open to the community, these nationally-known and local professionals as well as student storytellers from the Garner-area schools demonstrated their oral speaking skills. 

For 2017, Garner Storytelling will consist of a week-long residency of a nationally known storyteller who will visit the local GEF schools to present to students and faculty and work with students on using storytelling to improve reading and literacy. There will not be a Saturday workshop and Festival in 2017.

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2016 Garner Storytelling

The annual Garner Storytelling Festival held Saturday, February 27, at North Garner Middle School was led by professional storytellers Ms. Sherry Norfolk of Missouri, Ms. Claire Vera Ramsey of Wake County, and Ms. Susan Adams of Wake County.  Thirty-six Garner-area elementary school student storytellers joined these professionals to share stories and singing groups from Rand Road ES, Creech Road ES, and Timber Drive ES entertained the attendees as singing storytellers.  
Ms. Norfolk conducted a workshop for educators at North Garner Middle School on Saturday morning.  The workshop, entitled “Always a Story:  The Impact of Storytelling on Literacy” introduced a variety of hands-on activities for teachers and media specialists.

This primary sponsors for the 2016 Garner Storytelling events were FD Huebner-McDonalds and Duke Energy Foundation.  Other sponsors include the Town of Garner, Chick-fil-A, Wake County Public Libraries, Wake County Public Schools, and Garner Educational Foundation.

2015 Garner Storytelling Festival

The 12th annual Garner Storytelling Festival scheduled for Saturday, February 28, 2015, was cancelled due to icy weather.

2014 Garner Storytelling Festival 

The 11th annual Garner Storytelling Festival concluded on Saturday, March 1, with a rousing story told by lead professional storyteller Ms. Lyn Ford of Ohio and brought to life by twenty five of the fifty five student storytellers present.   Joining Ms. Ford and the students was professional storyteller Henry Vogel of Raleigh.   Prior to the afternoon Festival for the students, parents, educators, and community members, educators had attended a morning workshop presented by Ms. Ford and the Festival audience enjoyed several musical selections by the Timber Singers from Timber Drive Elementary School.  During the week, the two professional storytellers had visited the eight elementary and two middle schools where they captivated their audiences, totaling over 2500 students and staff.


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2013 Garner Storytelling Festival 

The tenth annual Garner Storytelling Festival on Saturday, February 23, 2013, at North Garner Middle School (720 Powell Drive, Garner) culminated the 2013 events—entitled Sharing Stories from the Heart—which included four days of school performances by professional story tellers, two storytelling sessions at the SE Regional Library, two half-day workshops for educators, and an afternoon festival with student performances.  Over 1200 attended the Saturday events and almost 2600 students enjoyed the school performances.

The featured professional presenter for the 2013 Festival was Donna Washington, an acclaimed state and national storyteller, who calls Durham, NC, home.   She was joined by Charleston, SC, storyteller Hawk Hurst, and by local Garner storyteller Chuck Killian of the Garner United Methodist Church.  Sixty-two students from the eight Garner-area elementary schools were storytellers alongside these professional storytellers while over 50 student singers from Timber Drive Elementary School and Creech Road Elementary School and over 25 student digital artists from Smith Elementary School, East Garner Elementary School, and Aversboro Elementary School entertained the audience prior to the Festival opening.   

Educators in the 2013 Storytelling Workshops learned how to use storytelling as an effective tool for literacy instruction in the classroom and for dealing with low self-esteem.  The workshops were conducted by nationally recognized storyteller and folklorist Donna Washington and Terry L. Ledford, Ph.D., author of “Parables for a Wounded Heart.”

The 2013 events were organized by the eleven GEF school media specialists in collaboration with the Garner Educational Foundation and the Wake County Public Library—SE Regional Branch.  The primary sponsor for the event was McDonalds (Doris & Fred Huebner), with additional sponsorship by the Wake County School System, the Town of Garner, a Target Stores grant, Chick-fil-A, Barnes & Noble, the Wake County Public Library, and the sponsors for the annual GEF fundraiser, Cooks for Books.


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