A Celebration of Writing by Local High School Students

A Celebration of Writing by Local High School Students

National Day on Writing, on Oct. 20th, was celebrated by Chelsea High’s sophomore Honors English students by a tradition called “Guerrilla Writing,” where students hang up their own short stories all around town.

Mrs. Putnam, Honors English 10 teacher at CHS, decided that it was important for an English class to celebrate National Day on Writing which was officially created in 2009. She saw it as a chance to have student voices shared with the Chelsea community.

“I always think writing is more powerful if you actually are going to publish something. Otherwise, why are we writing? I’m always looking for something that lets students have a voice and to have their own thing,” she said.

Having a voice in the community can be a little intimidating for some students, though, as Honors English student Lauren Allison explained.

“Everybody reading it and everybody seeing it is just kind of nerve-wracking,” she said.

Mrs. Putnam can understand some of her students’ fears about making their writing public.

“I think people stress out about it until it happens, because it’s hard. You’re putting a piece of yourself out there. Even if it doesn’t have a name, it makes you feel really vulnerable,” she said.

The project remains, however, because of the importance of integrating student voices into the public. Mrs. Putnam’s students agree with this aspect.

“It definitely gives people who wouldn’t think of themselves as writers or other people wouldn’t consider writers to have an opportunity. It lets them show that they can,” Lauren Allison told Bleu Print. “I like how [the project] gives some students a chance to express themselves in a way that not everybody sees because not everybody knows everybody.”

While a lot of students like Lauren saw National Day on Writing as a means of expression, there were still some students who had difficulties with publishing their writing for to the public.,. Veronica Blissick said it was harder for her when she had to make her writing not just for herself, but for everyone else.

“It’s supposed to be my piece, not the town of Chelsea’s piece when it comes to writing,” she said. “You have to fit the audience, purpose, and genre, and you have to make it very structured in a way. Obviously all writing has that, but the project is just a little bit more in-tune to that [than other pieces].”

There were also difficulties for some students when it came to the actual posting of their work.

“It’s kind of confining, because it has to be more positive,” Veronica continued when asked about what it was like deciding where to post her work. It was difficult for her to find a place where she could write something she felt truly expressed herself, which is what she saw the project to be about.

According to Allison, another student was simply turned down for a posting at Speedway.

“They would not let one of the students put his in or outside of the gas station,” she said. “He wrote a poem about Speedway pizza and wanted to put it in Speedway, and they told him no.”

While some students struggled, though, most still loved the idea behind the tradition.

“Some people are just quiet and can’t really talk to other people,” Lauren Allison said. “So, when they have a chance to do something like this, it’s really cool.”

Veronica Blissick agreed, despite her wishes to change aspects of the project.

“I think it’s a really cool idea to celebrate National Day on Writing,” she said.

Mrs. Putnam continues to look for exciting and fun publishing opportunities for her students to help get their voices out there, and encourages students to make their voices heard.