Never underestimate the power of a little conversation.
The Write-a-Thon grew its roots in 2015, during a little conversation between my school district’s (Robbinsville, New Jersey) Superintendent, Dr. Steven Mayer and myself.
The crux of the conversation was, “How can we teach teenagers to see writing as an exercise in self-discovery and authenticity not just a forced activity aligned with the harbingers of school?”
So we talked. We listened. We brainstormed.
And 3 months later the first Write-a-Thon was held in my classroom., a 2-hour writing event that afforded students the opportunity to write, to tell their story.
The event hosted 13 writers including Dr. Mayer and received donations and support from my student’s parents, faculty and my own friends and family.
When concluded, the Write-a-Thon raised $1,300 for the Special Olympics of New Jersey.
The May event was held in his honor.
An event that began with me, fighting tears, recounting our little brainstorming session and how though he is physically gone, his story, his passion is alive and well.
The heart of the Write-a-Thon is simple–show up and tell your story.
This week, the fourth installment of the Write-a-Thon had 30 student writers, ranging from 7th to 12th grade. The event hosted a $500 college scholarship essay challenge and was filmed by the Emmy winning “Classroom Close-up NJ” and will be featured in October 2017 episode.
My experience as both a high school teacher and an adult has taught me that, in the contentious transition between young adulthood and adulthood, it’s easy to get distracted with the noise of the world.
It’s easy to forget about the importance and power of your voice, of your story.
It’s easy to believe your story doesn’t matter.
It’s easy to believe fiction.
The Write-a-Thon is a celebration of the human voice. Of the lasting power of the true human story.
And it’s our stories that stand before us, that become the permanent teachers, forever instructing the lives of the living.
The 2017 Write-a-Thon received tremendous support from the following Robbinsville High School programs:
The Debate Club
Coach Patterson and the Robbinsville Football Program
Robbinsville Boys Lacrosse
The Drama Club
The RHS Literary Magazine
The RHS Class of 2019