by Jan Knispel
On September 26th, 2014, the Nebraska Writing Project was represented by Jan Knispel, board member; Brenda Larabee, Co-Director; and Janell Stoeger, Summer Institute Teacher-Consultant presented an overview of the Nebraska Writing Project to a session of speech coaches at the Nebraska Speech Communications and Theater Association convention in Grand Island, Nebraska. Larabee is the speech coach at Stuart High School, Stoeger is the head coach at Valentine High School, and Knispel is the retired head coach at Valentine High School.
Brian Mohr, former Summer Institute Teacher Consultant issued the invitation to present at this year’s NSCTA Convention. The session began with a writing activity patterned after one given by Paula Anderson at the Platte River Writing Retreat earlier in September. Knispel introduced the writing session by having the attendees write a list of cooking terms, having the participants share their lists in groups, and write a poem using these terms which was then shared in the group. Larabee then lead a discussion on the benefits of attending a Nebraska Writing Project summer institute. Stoeger shared how the summer institute that she, Larabee and Mohr attended helped her to get back to writing, creating poems that enabled her to complete her masters’ program in creative writing at UNK. Most importantly, Stoeger shared how her attendance with Valentine High School students helped her to gain an understanding of the student writers who attended the Youth Writing Festival in 2014 in Stuart, Nebraska, where Larabee sponsored the festival. Also discussed was the NeWP’s two Nebraska Youth Writing Festivals that will take place in March, 2015, at two sites: Stuart and Elkhorn South.
At the end of the session, the participants were encouraged to email their finished poems to Jan Knispel for publication on the NeWP website.
“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.”-Mark Twain