NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Drury High School will participate in the 3rd annual National Day on Writing on Thursday, Oct. 20. Founded by the National Council of Teachers of English in 2009, the day celebrates the importance of writing in the lives of all people.
The day will begin with a schoolwide assembly featuring documentary poet, social critic and labor activist Mark Nowak, director of the graduate creative writing program at Manhattanville College in Purchase, N.Y., and Jon Sands, nationally recognized slam poet from Brooklyn, N.Y., as keynote speakers. Following lunch, students will spend two hours in one of 33 workshops led both by faculty and community leaders.
Workshops range from the popular "Creative Writing — The Zombie Invasion" to "Creating Storybooks" to "A Picture IS worth 1,000 Words." A sampling of the workshops led by community experts includes: "Writing for the Theater" in which Berkshire Theatre Group artistic associate and director E. Gray Simons III will explore the craft and style of writing for theater; "Playwriting," which will explore creative writing through the lens of a playwright and in which students will write a short skit and then get to watch their characters come to life, led by Kelli Newby, professor at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts; "Interview the Stars," in which Transcript reporter Jennifer Huberdeau will share her secrets about how to get that perfect interview; "Hurricanes, Bullying, Sports, and the Internet: How Journalism Can Put You At Life's Cutting Edge" with reporter and photographer Susan Bush; "Carving out the Poem: You, Your Poems, and the 3-Dimensional World" with keynote speaker Sands; and "A Brief History of Anything," in which keynote speaker Nowak will expose students to excerpts from several literary works by authors from the United States, Latin America and Europe and then give students the chance to imagine something that deserves to have its "brief history" told — and to write that history themselves.
Nowak's writings include "Shut Up Shut Down," a New York Times Editor’s Choice, and the 2009 book on coal mining disasters in the United States and China "Coal Mountain Elementary" that Howard Zinn has called “a stunning educational tool.” Sands has been a full-time teaching and performing artist since 2007. His first full collection of poems, "The New Clean," was released in 2011 from Write Bloody Publishing. Sands has performed and facilitated workshops extensively with university and arts organizations both nationally and internationally and is director of poetry education at the Positive Health Project (a syringe exchange center in Manhattan), an adjunct with the City College of New York as well as a youth mentor with Urban Word-NYC.
"Fostering a love of writing is a top priority to Drury High School," said Allison Bergeron, English department team leader. "The National Day on Writing shows students that writing does not have to mean a five-paragraph essay but can encompass all topics and styles. For the past two years, DHS students have been fully engaged in writing during NDOW and have enjoyed this opportunity. Faculty and students alike have started to look forward to this event each year, and that is very gratifying."
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