Authors and poets and podcasts, oh my

Annual Writer’s Day comes back to LZ

February 5, 2019

Writers from LZ and beyond gathered in the library last Friday to celebrate Writer’s Day. Authors, poets, bloggers, and podcasters lit up the room with contagious passion and electric energy.

Students in their English classes and during open periods visited the annual Writer’s Day celebration, where writers of all kinds were invited to present and perform. Overall, it was a success; visitors were enthusiastic and students were an attentive audience. The architect behind the whole production was Amy Pine, librarian.

“Everything we do in the classroom, whether it’s something we want to do, it’s usually an assignment, right? And we are learning something very valuable from that, but I also think it’s important to show students that what they do here translates to life after school,” Pine said “That there’s so much out there you can do with writing, whether it’s spoken word poetry or blogging or podcasting—all those things that were here today—that the art of writing translates to so many different mediums. And I think that’s what Writer’s Day provides for students.”

Pine brought the idea for Writer’s Day over from Fremd High School where she taught for years.

“I started [Writer’s Day],” Pine said. “I started it because I stole it. And I loved it, so I said, ‘I’m bringing it here.’”

Though she hopes the event will get bigger in LZ, for now she’s a “one-woman show putting it all together,” Pine said. One of Pine’s guests was her high school peer Julie Halpern, author, who discussed her experiences and how she finds writing inspiration. 

Photo by Ellie Melvin
Halpern tells students at Writer’s Day about her experiences as an author and where her inspiration comes from. Halpern loves talking to high school students and promoting writing, she said.

“I think to understand that writing can come in all different forms [is important for students],” Halpern said. “So if you hear different authors talking, you know that you don’t have to be a Nobel prize winner or super serious [to write].”

Halpern’s value of Writer’s Day showed in her presentation. She spoke passionately about her work as an author, promoted her Young Adult novels, and even shared her own relatable story as a teenager.

“I love talking to high school students,” Halpern said. “You know, there aren’t many opportunities for people who write older young adult novels, because I can’t go to middle schools because [of some of the content] in my books, so I’ll take any opportunity to come into a high school to talk. This is my audience.”

Student excitement and involvement in Writer’s Day is certainly the best part of the event, Pine said. Although all the speakers and performers were fantastic, and each brought unique material to the celebration, it would have been nice to have seen more students get involved by sharing their writing. Caitlyn Wenzel, sophomore, was one of the five student presenters.

“The crowd was pretty big and sharing your writing in front of an audience of your classmates is horrifying, especially because public speaking is feared more than death,” Wenzel said. “[But] I feel like people who participated in Writer’s Day need to help encourage other students to do the same. I did it last year, I did it this year, I’m going to do it next year, I love Writer’s Day.”

Pine is just as optimistic.

Photo by Ellie Melvin
The Three Books Podcast from Ela Library presents to celebrate writing. One of Pine’s favorite parts of the event is bringing in guests, she said.

“What makes [the hard work] worth it is hearing from students afterwards saying, ‘Are we going to do that again next year?’” Pine said. “And to know that somebody, even if it’s not everybody, if it’s at least one student, who is like,‘That was really cool, I was really inspired, I want to write something,’ [that’s enough].”

After a successful Writer’s Day, the best thing to do is explore what comes next. How can LZ make it bigger and better? The more the school encourages and excites the next generation of writers, the better. For both the school and the nation. So what is next?

“One thing that I would like, and this is what would make Writer’s Day bigger and what I’d like to see happening, is for teachers across the curriculum to find value in bringing their classes down,” Pine said. “I would love input from outside the English department on writing type guests other classes might want to see. I would love to have mass appeal across the curriculum.”

 

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