With a fresh sheet of notebook paper, BSHS creative writing students picked up their pens to workshop with local authors and poets. At the start of the semester, poet Maryfrances Wagner paid a visit to students enrolled in Creative Writing II.
Wagner walked them through a brainstorming exercise and the creative process, often stretching students farther than they might have gone on their own.
“Working with Mrs. Wagner was honestly very eye opening. She made me self reflect and pick out pieces of myself that were more vulnerable and personal. That challenged me and really opened up my eyes to the creative possibility that even seemingly simple things like poetry have to offer,” senior Kailyn Klotz said.
As Wagner’s former student and then eventually as her student teacher, English and creative writing teacher Julie Sturman had a personal relationship with Wagner. Wagner introduced her to The Writer’s Place (TWP) poetry project during her first year as a creative writing teacher.
“Maryfrances Wagner was my high school English teacher; I had her for Comp. 110 and creative writing. When I took over creative writing, I contacted her to ask if she had any of her creative writing assignments because she was then retired,” Sturman said.
Each student put their poem in for submission to TWP’s annual poetry contest. Many students across the metro entered, and two BSHS students, seniors Kailyn Klotz and Samantha Johnson, took home cash prizes.
“I placed in a third place spot, and honestly, I did not expect it. I had read and heard a lot of stellar poems from my classmates, but never did I think that I would be chosen to receive such an award. It was really neat and I was sweaty from the nerves,” Klotz said.
Her nerves aside, Klotz enjoyed performing her poem in front of local authors and students. She was proud to represent the creative minds of BSHS.
“I think that over all, the field trip taught me to never doubt my abilities. Even when challenges present themselves, and I feel I have absolutely no where to start, a little creative thinking and patience will get me a product that I can work with. As long as I don’t give up, and doubt myself, I can accomplish really cool things,” Klotz said.
Like Klotz, Sturman loved to watch her students grow as writers throughout the day and hoped the trip would inspire them to write for years to come.
“I love to see my student’s being rewarded for their work. Yes, standardized tests are important, but they don’t illustrate talent. This field trip just gives them an opportunity to showcase that,” Sturman said.