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English Scholars Write Right in Herricks

English Scholars Write Right in Herricks

The English Scholars Programs at Herricks Middle and High schools hosted their annual exhibition of student work for guests to view and enjoy. The Middle School’s showcase was held on May 25, when parents, administrators, faculty members and students had the opportunity to tour an assortment of displays in the library media center. The High School held two events – one on the evening of May 31 for parents and other guests, and another during the day on June 1 for students and staff members. All were held in the buildings’ respective library media centers.

The exhibitions featured unique displays developed by ESP participants. High School students presented poetry, essays, novels, short stories, plays and other pieces that they completed this year, with visual representations that brought their writing to life. The event also featured poetry readings of students’ favorite and original works. Middle School students also created their own projects in the genres of their choice and the majority selected realistic fiction.

The English Scholars Program is an elective that fosters writing skills and creativity related to English language arts. Held as a full-year class on alternating days, it enables students to pursue self-designed English language arts projects in collaboration with a teacher. The high school level is open to freshmen through seniors, while that at the middle school is offered to eighth-graders.

The Middle School students participate in conferences and shares throughout the school year and receive constant feedback on their work. Some build upon the same project over the course of the program, while others change direction once they are fully immersed in the creative process and their ideas evolve.

“It’s a nice way to get the students to work independently and also get used to sharing their work,” said Middle School teacher Kristina Seligson.

Eighth-grader Sarah Grace Thomas wrote her piece based on her own experiences. “I want people who read it to know that whoever you are, you are enough,” she said. She is very excited to take part in the high school program next year.

High School students meet with mentors from the English Department on a regular basis to design and implement an individual plan. They may choose options from a menu or develop customized ones, such as writing for publications, creative writing assignments or research projects.

“Perhaps more than anything else, the English Scholars Program helps motivated students learn how to construct a course of study that is unique to their needs and interests while providing a challenging structure that fosters growth,” said High School teacher Alan Semerdjian. “This type of self-designed learning is essential for not only academics but also for general happiness and well-bring in all aspects of life.”