Alexander Fitzgerald, ELA instructor
I'll admit, when I first joined NWP-A I didn't think much of it. In my mind, it was just another workshop and some professional development; luckily, I have been beyond wrong. NWP-A will open up the writer within you, improve your teaching in a way that engages even the shyest of learners, and open students to a world of creativity they never knew could be accessed. Because of NWP-A, my students have seen that they are anything but voiceless - they have the opportunity to earn state recognition for their work, collaborate in workshops with poet laureates, and interact with students from various high schools that share the same interests as them. No matter where I'm teaching, NWP has been so impactful that I will always be sure to be apart of the project.
Catherine Godbold, Lafayette High School 11th and 12th grade English STudent 2019
This program is phenomenal. The summer workshops are so fun, and the wealth of talent in our district’s students astounds me. Plus, teachers and students get to work with renowned poets, writers, and playwrights, masters of the craft. In terms of teaching, I’ve learned so many new and creative ways to approach reading and writing, like using a prompting story and personal narrative to investigate perspectives in argumentative writing. Now I can incorporate creative writing into the curriculum in a way that supports students’ interests and creativity as well as their academic needs. Many of the workshop exercises have also been used in our school’s chapter of the National English Honor Society. Lastly, I’ve rediscovered my own love of writing, and I have written over 100K words of original work since my first summer workshop.
Edward Gauthier, retired teacher, summer institute of 1999
The summer workshop of 1999 got me back into writing. It made me take it much more seriously. Dr. Ann Dobie had a significant influence in my writing skills. So has all the workshops and fellows of the organization. I now write 4 to 6 hours per day, Monday through Friday. I can often be found at Johnston Street Java Coffee shop in the afternoons. Drop by sometimes. I’m always interested in finding critique partners.
Matthew Canone, Summer Institute 2009
The Writing Project really assisted in sharpening my students’ writing because everything from that group experience opened avenues that I didn’t really know existed. It was definitely a game changer.
Katherine Schexnayder, Instructional Leader 2012
AWP’s power is its ability to take an average person, student or teacher, and inspire them to call themselves writers. AWP takes writing out of its box, and breathes it into every aspect of life. In this way, they are able to accomplish the Herculean task of making students college and career ready, while still addressing social and emotional needs by unlocking the healing and therapeutic power of the written word. In other words, they meet the needs of today’s educational climate, but never lose the soul of the humanities in their work. This is life changing for students in their journeys to become adults and for teachers in their journeys to educate the whole child.
In summer of 2011, one of our teaching consultants - Sherrie Jacobs, who taught in St. Martinville - finished our Summer Institute with a new drive and enthusiasm and ended up starting a
HUGE writing group out at her school. The next year, I was able on several occasions to meet this group and do some workshops with them. One of her students was a senior in high school, and just everything you want out of a kid.
Compassionate, funny, unique, outgoing, etc. His enthusiasm was transcendent and contagious. Tragically, for reasons we’ll never
know, he took his life after graduating high school in 2012, leaving behind a legion of broken-hearted friends and teachers. It was earth-shattering news to get. And it was overwhelming when Sherrie asked Toby and myself to visit his classmates just a few days later and lead some writing exercises for them, as they all wanted a chance to come together and do what he loved to do. The student's dad was there, too.
And it reminded me how small I was in the long run, but also how massively important writing can be in the moment. The writing the kids did that day - even before they’d said goodbye to their friend at his funeral - was as profound and healing as any writing I’ve ever seen or heard in 21 years of teaching.