BETTSVILLE - Everywhere Paul Orshoski turns, an idea for a poem could present itself.
Orshoski, superintendent of Bettsville Local School District, said because he is in school every day with children, he has a ready-made source of ideas everywhere he turns, from the playground to the cafeteria to the gymnasium.
"My head is always filled up with ideas, and I'm always looking for ideas," he said.
PHOTO BY JILL GOSCHE
Paul Orshoski, superintendent of Bettsville Local School District, speaks to Seneca East Elementary School students Monday.
Orshoski, who has worked in Bettsville for four years, is a published author of rhyming poetry and beginning reader books.
"Rhyming poetry may not be everyone's ball of wax ... Most publishers aren't interested in it," he said.
However, he said it is something he enjoys doing, and it takes him away from the stresses of his job.
by Paul Orshoski
This morning when I woke up
I was met with great surprise
for right outside my window
loomed a treasure to my eyes.
The scene was so magnificent
I kissed the family dog.
The air was filled with haziness,
a vapor mass of fog.
How can foggy skies, you say,
bring joy into my day?
The answer is quite simple.
It caused a school delay.
I phoned a friend, we joked and laughed.
In fact, we both went wild.
There's nothing like a school delay
to brighten up a child.
Before I jumped back into bed
my friend said I should know
the forecast for tomorrow calls
for freezing rain and snow.
- From web.me.com/
by Paul Orshoski
There's a place in the country
a long way from town,
That is home to a person
named Old Farmer Brown.
It's a place on a hillside
with likable charm,
And it's known to young children
as Brown's Funny Farm.
Farmer Brown has a rooster
that cackles and sings,
And a hen that eats drum sticks
with barbecued wings.
There's a goose made of chocolate
with marshmallow legs,
And a pig that eats bacon
with fried scrambled eggs.
Farmer Brown has a tractor
with wagons of wheat,
And a barn full of critters
with bad smelling feet.
There's a pond just for swimming
with snorkels and fins,
But mostly the place is for
giggles and grins.
- From web.me.com/paulorshoski
"(It's) just something I enjoy, and some people are interested in it. ... I have fun with it," he said.
Orshoski has published books with Treasure Bay titled "Where Is My Frog?" "Bugs on the Bus," "Ant in Her Pants," "Robot Man," "I Do Not Like Greens!" "Sports Dream," "Talent Night" and "My Sitter Is a T-rex!"
He also has poems published in anthologies with Meadowbrook Press titled "My Teacher's in Detention," "Dinner with Dracula," "I've Been Burping in the Classroom," "I Hope I Don't Strike Out" and "What I Did on My Summer Vacation."
"Everything is school-related, which is a natural (thing) for me, being in education," he said.
Two years ago, Orshoski traveled to Hawaii on Bettsville's senior class trip.
"It was so cool to see one of those books in Borders at a store in Hawaii. ... I should've bought it with a sticker from Hawaii on it, but I didn't," he said.
Orshoski, who taught journalism and health and physical education before becoming an administrator, said deep down, becoming an author probably was something he aspired to do. He said his interest in reading and writing has been lifelong.
He said his mother, who never had her work published, liked writing rhyming poems, and he must have picked up the interest from her.
"She was a big influence on me," he said.
Orshoski said he never got serious about publishing his work until about 2003 or 2004. He started reading Shel Silverstein's work and said he thinks he started searching online for rhyming poems.
He came across a website, www.gigglepoetry.com, and said when he started reading children's poetry on it, he knew he could do it.
Orshoski said he sought Meadowbrook Press' submission guidelines.
"It was 'send us 10 poems,' and so I did," he said.
After following up, he received an e-mail from an editor.
"I was off and running with that company," he said.
Orshoski said he thinks during his first year at Bettsville, he received a mass mailing with a sample book or two. He recalled thinking, "I can do this," so he sent an e-mail and was asked for samples.
He was called at home by the publisher of another company.
"I was off and running with them," he said.
Orshoski shares his experiences with students at schools. Monday, he spoke to Seneca East Elementary School students for Right to Read Week. He said his job comes first, but he will speak to schools if he can work in a visit around his Bettsville responsibilities and if he has the time off or vacation time to do it.
He said Bettsville could be on break and another school could be in session.
"I'm always looking for those dates," he said.
According to his website, each 45-60 minute session includes a PowerPoint presentation, and he recites and discusses his poems and books with students and teachers.
Orshoski, who said he enjoys being given the opportunity to visit schools, said he doesn't claim to be a professional speaker.
"Hopefully, kids get something out of it," he said.
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