Northern Youth Writing Festival 2016

DSC_0981On Saturday, March 19th, 11 youth and their instructors from 4 communities traveled to Stuart to participate in the Youth Writing Festival sponsored by the Nebraska Writing Project.  Communities represented in the festival were Stuart, Valentine, Lynch, and Wausa.

Students were able to attend sessions presented by Kendra Vanderbeek, Melissa Pilakowski, and Brian Mohr.  Following the sessions, participants enjoyed a sack lunch and then headed out for a writing marathon around the town of Stuart led by Jan Knispel.  Upon completion, students returned to the school to publish their writing from the day.

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.

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Youth Writing Festivals 2016

newp kinseyOn Saturday, March 19th, NeWP hosted the Youth Writing Festivals. For our Eastern Festival, we moved locations to Gretna High School and we had a fantastic turnout. There were over 50 students there from eight different schools/districts. The Eastern Festival is for middle school students and they ranged from 6th to 9th grade. Each student received a notebook and t-shirt for their participation in the festival.

The day was broken up into four sessions, with two groups of students traveling between the sessions. Sessions were led by area middle school teachers Elizabeth Lambert, Heather Kinsey, Shelley Sheets, and Amy Tasich. Sessions focused on character development, character interactions, topic and story creation, ignoring the editor, and there was a writing marathon for each student as well. The final session of the day was for publishing student work. Student pieces can be found on our blog
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This is the fifth year the Nebraska Writing Project has hosted a Youth Writing Festival, and the third year it has been geared towards middle school students. If you have any questions or would like to participate in the 2017 YWF, contact Amy Tasich at




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Winter Board Retreat 2016

January 23, 2016
Andrews Hall
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Amy Tasich and Stacey Waite
Amy Tasich and Stacey Waite

Led by acting Director, Stacey Waite, the Nebraska Writing Project board met on Saturday to share, learn and plan. Twenty members of NeWP participated in the annual retreat.

The first item on the agenda was the new t-shirts and polos sporting the brand new NeWP logos. T-shirts are on sale for $15 and polos are $25. Contact Stacey Waite if you are interested in purchasing one for you and your NeWP friends!

The traditional writing project introductions followed, and then it was down to

New Polo
New Polo

business. The official agenda began with NeWP members sharing all of the amazing programs that we have offered over the past few months including the Warrior Writers program, the Gretna embedded institute, and the upcoming Youth Writing Camp and Festival.

More information on these programs and all of the upcoming Writing Marathon dates can be found at here.

Danielle Helzer and Jeff Grinvalds both announced that this would be their last year serving on the Leadership Committee as Co-Director and Technology Liaison, respectively. NeWP Board Members are encouraged to apply for these positions. Application information can be found here.

Board Members were then encouraged to nominate teacher-leaders for the Leadership Retreat. Last year we had twenty teachers from across the state attend the three-day conference, and we are hoping for another group of activist teachers to join us. Please nominate any teachers that you believe would be interested in participating and who exhibit leadership qualities. If you are not on the board, email Danielle Helzer for more information or to make nominations.

The board continued its busy agenda by discussing the Professional Writing Retreat which will be held at the St. Benedict monastery from July 27-29. If you have any questions or are interested in attending, please contact Jane Connealy for more information.

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