This is Dr. Lynne Alvine's adolescent lit class at IUP (that's Indiana University of PA) where I had the privilege of speaking on Thursday. Not only were they patient enough to sit through my poetry, they even sat through readings from unpublished manuscripts and in one case a rejected manuscript. On Friday night at Dr. Lynne's house one student teacher asked me if I had any advice for her as a new teacher and my answer was YES. YOU HAVE TO STAND UP FOR YOURSELF! Believe in your own intellect and abilities no matter what. It's a tough time in teaching today, but happily new, dedicated teachers are still following their hearts into the profession.
The next day on Friday IUP played host to 17 local high schools who sent students there for a day of writing and learning. It was fabulous. I spoke in the morning with some help from Michael and he hosted a sharing session at the end of the day where students shared their writing. In between they were treated to break out sessions on everything from Diary writing to poetry to Harry Potter fantasy -- and stacks -- I MEAN STACKS of pizzas.
Thank you to my dear friend and inspirational mentor Dr. Lynne and to Sue Johnson and the Northwest PA Writing Project for all their hard work and dedication to making this a terrific day.
I can't imagine having an opportunity like this when I was in HS. Had I, perhaps I wouldn't have waited until I was 40 to launch a writing career. There really are so many opportunities for kids these days, but too many don't even know the opportunities are out there. A day like this widens horizons beyond the cafeteria table and the bank of lockers in the hall. Truly valuable.