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
newp publishing 2

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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NeWP Youth Writing Festivals!

NeWP Youth Writing Festivals

Elkhorn South High School

IMG_1750The 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 IMG_1746a 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

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.

Students who chose to submit writing have their writing posted on the Nebraska Writing Project Youth Writing Festival blog at WordPress.

Information regarding the festival can be found at The Nebraska Writing Project Events page

 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


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