Students in Lutie High School’s most recent creative writing class were published and featured in the literary magazine Cholla Needles in Joshua Tree, California.
The magazine’s cover art features a mural inside Lutie Hall that reads “Everybody is Somebody.” The work has adorned the school’s corridors since 1992. It was directed by then-Lutie Superintendent Bob Campbell and drawn by former Lutie student Joe Wilson.
“it It has been a guiding light ever since. I want it to be forever,” said Scot Young, a recently retired Lutie director who teaches creative writing classes there.
Each student in the class has a biography and photographs included in the book, and Lutie graduating senior Emily Linenbrink’s work is used throughout.
In the published work, the introduction written by Young explains that Lu Tie students in the class call themselves the Second Chance Breakfast Club, “not because our first chance somehow failed, or was destined to serve Saturday’s stay. Church…”
Instead, the name is part of the school’s policy of serving students a grab-and-go breakfast every day at 9:30 a.m., which coincides with high school creative writing classes. “It turns out that this second chance has benefited these kids’ creative muses, fed by countless zingers and cupcakes,” Young said in the article.
“In education we tend to dictate what students should think, teach how to color within lines, that the color of the sun is yellow, and that all the little desks have to line up. Too many people at all levels of education believe this. I don’t. They say it never ends the way you want it to, but most of the time it’s meetings in conference rooms with couches, loveseats, comfy rolling chairs, and a bench full of snacks. meeting table.”
Yang said creative writing classes begin with a series of traditional assignments. “…to learn figurative language and formulaic poetry, you just need to fill in the blanks with parts of speech…then [we] Dabble in haiku, counting the syllables on your fingers. These are ok, but mostly boring and controlled like worksheet handouts that measure nothing,” he said.
One day, Yang said, a student pointed out that there must be a lot of rules in a creative writing class.
“He was right. From that moment on, they started writing a few poems a day to tell their stories. Some days, we hit the walkway, looking for things we couldn’t find in the classroom. Other times, we wrote poems, telling Our stories, self-published outside in pastel on our driveways and sidewalks and the walls of our red-brick schoolhouse,” Young said of the class.
People outside the school sent poems and books and money to buy other books, “and a few boxes of sandwich biscuits”, all of which were used for class.
“This year the class ended with a junk food party and a Zoom reading for their final project. Poets from all over the world showed up and read one of their works. No egos, lots of snapping fingers, some people and a few drops Tears (mostly from the adults) ended with relief. Exploring our own and others’ worlds without judgment, in this case, through poetry, not coloring within the lines is what education should and can be.
“Sometimes it does end the way you want it to.”
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