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BOOK CORNER: Manual Arts High School students share South Central stories in book

By Marissa Wells

Contributing Writer

“Elders hold the weight of years in their memories — as witnesses to injustice and in celebrations of triumph and happiness. As a bridge to the past, elders give birth to new generations. Their journeys can inspire us to continue traditions — or to break them.”

That’s the foundation for “Through the Same Halls: Journeys of Elders Born and Raised in South Central and Beyond,” a collection of student writings by 51 students at Manual Arts High School in South Los Angeles.

In this book, students from Cris Avina’s history class capture cultural, economic and historical landscapes of their South Los Angeles communities. Readers will find snapshots of elders who shaped the world that the younger generation inherited and see the faces of the next generation who will shape it’s future.

“This has given me a perspective on how to open up and how to get people to hear me, and hear what I have to say through writing,” said student author Ashely P. “I’m excited for everybody to hear about my great-grandmother and her story.”

Some of the Manual Arts High School students who contributed to ‘Through the Same Halls,’ 826LA’s 15th Young Author’s Book Project. (Photo courtesy of 826LA)

“When we thought about this book, we really wanted it to be a story of the people who lived and thrived in this specific area of South Central,” said T Sarmina, 826LA Writers’ Room coordinator.

826LA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students with their writing skills and helping teachers inspire their students to write. Each year, 826LA partners with one Los Angeles Unified School District high school to give students an opportunity to create a collection of student writings.

“Through the Same Halls: Journeys of Elders Born and Raised in South Central and Beyond” is available for $35 in-stores at 626LA Time Travel Mart locations in Echo Park and Mar Vista. Books are also available for pre-order at