Youth Engage in Writing Workshop

Around 150 students, from sixth through 12th grades, participated in free writing workshops at the second annual Writing Our Lives community event held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 13, at Percy Hughes Magnet School. Students came from the Syracuse City School District and the greater Syracuse area.

“The main thing [with Writing Our Lives] is to cultivate students’ identities as writers,” said Marcelle Haddix, organizer of Writing Our Lives and assistant professor in the School of Education at Syracuse University. Students should think about writing outside of school and their classes, she said.

Sherri Williams leads a session for students titled "Representations and Writing: Telling Our Stories as Only We Can." -- Photo by Jennifer Moncayo

As such, each workshop represented a genre in writing, including spoken word poetry, journalism, photo essays and writing college essays. The sessions were broken up by grade level and taught by SU faculty members from various departments including the School of Education and S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, as well as student volunteers from the SU Literacy Corps.

“The students recognize this as a valuable opportunity, especially the high school seniors who are taking the college essay writing,” said Katrina Keegan, 19, Literacy Corp volunteer and SU student.

For the younger students, the workshops focused on writing about their lives and personal experiences, such as “Writing My Culture” with SU education professor Zaline Roy-Campbell, and “Discovering Your Voice” with Cedric Bolton, instructor of the spoken word program Verbal Blend.

“My favorite [workshop] was the poetry,” said Breyona Rice, 14, student at Edward Smith School. “I love to write about my life,” she added.

Writing Our Lives promotes writing in the lives of students in and out of school and works with teachers and community groups to prepare better writers, according to the event program. For more information, visit the website here.