NeWP Youth Writing Festivals
Elkhorn South High School
The Nebraska Writing Project hosted the 2015 Youth Writing Festival at Elkhorn South High School on March 21st. This was a wonderful opportunity for students in grades 6-8 to participate in a variety of writing exercises and activities. The students got to go on a writing marathon, and each student also participated in two unique writing sessions led by area teachers. These sessions dealt with creating backstories for fiction, writing creative nonfiction, and reversal poetry.
When asked what they enjoyed about the sessions, the students had lots of great things to say. One student said, “I enjoyed the session about creating fictional worlds the most because it gave me lots of freedom of thought and I got a good idea.” Another said, “I enjoyed all of my experiences because I learned a lot.” Finally, one student hit at the heart of the writing festival, “I really liked the Marathon. I liked that I was able to read with out criticism.”
Each student received a t-shirt, notebook, and pencil. The students also had the option of publishing their writing after the festival. Student writing can be found at http://newpyouthwritingfestval.wordpress.com/
by Amy Tasich, Elkhorn South High School
Stuart High School
On Saturday, March 21st, 60 youth and their instructors from 10 communities traveled to Stuart to participate in the Youth Writing Festival sponsored by the Nebraska Writing Project. Communities represented in the festival were Stuart, O’Neill, Arnold, North Platte, McCook, Loomis, Kimball, Neligh-Oakdale, Valentine, and Alma.
Students were able to attend their choice of three sessions presented by Melissa Pilakowski, Valentine High School; Jan Knispel, adjunct professor, Mid Plains Community College; Brian Mohr, Grand Island Central Catholic High School; Kendra Vanderbeek, O’Niell High School; and Brenda Larabee, Stuart High School. Following the sessions, participants enjoyed a sack lunch and then headed out for a writing marathon around the town of Stuart led by Janell Stoeger, Valentine High School. Upon completion, students returned to the school to publish their writing from the day.
In addition to the Stuart High School site, the Youth Writing Festival also takes place at Elkhorn South on the same date.
The Nebraska Writing Project prides itself on the philosophy of teachers and students writing together. This was a shining example of that philosophy in action.
by Brenda Larabee and Jan Knispel