The Driscoll Independent School District recently hosted author Naomi Shihab Nye in the district's new gym.

School officials said Nye agreed to make the visit after middle school teacher Shelly Morales wrote a personal letter inviting her to speak to the district's middle school English students.

Nye has published or edited poetry, essays, young adult novels and children's books. After Nye's initial address to all middle school students, she led two writing workshops and a question and answer session sharing from her works, talking more with students about not just aiming for formulaic writing, but as an "expressive, creative outlet, writing for personal fulfillment and with an audience in mind."

Almost 30 years ago, as a freshman at H.M. King High School in Kingsville, Morales had the opportunity to attend a writer's workshop led by Nye. In her letter of invitation to Nye, Morales wrote:

"In large part because of that week with you, I knew that I wanted to awaken the passion for writing in students who had been like me. In my 25 years of teaching, I have taught thousands of students," Morales wrote. "Among them, two I know of are professional writers today."

School officials said the visit in part was made possible by the "Future Driven School Libraries" project, which was funded by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Academic Improvement and Teacher Quality Programs "Improving Literacy through School Libraries" grant.