After twenty years of teaching language arts, drama, and creative writing at Century Middle School, Mary Ann Stratton is thrilled to begin her second year with the STEM Lab community. Coincidentally, she began her career on this very corner, teaching Language Arts way back when this building was Northeast Middle School. She has come full circle! Words matter. Thinking deeply and critically matters. Creative and original work matters. Kindness matters. What motivates Ms. Stratton most is creating a learning environment that pushes her students to reflect on their own identities, as well as our shared humanity, through reading and writing. She believes literature opens windows to the world invoking understanding, knowledge, and a multi-dimensional perspective. Through writing, Ms. Stratton strives to inspire and empower her students to develop their own much needed voices. When she is not teaching 8th grade language arts, Ms. Stratton is probably hanging out with her family and friends, reading, hiking, skiing, playing golf, or enjoying life on her small ranch with two horses, two mini donkeys, five cows, three goats, three dogs, a pony and a cat :).