Writers Week XVIII starts at our school in, oh, a little less than ten hours, and I’m thrilled to see a student posting this on Twitter tonight: “Honestly excited for school this week #ww18” That’s what it’s all about: pairing writing with excitement.
For those who are new to our Writers Week, here’s the deal. Since 1995, we have focused on writing by presenting writers in our auditorium—professional writers, student writers, faculty writers. Every period every day for a week, students can walk into our auditorium and listen to writers sharing writing. More than two hundred professional writers have visited our campus since the program’s inception. More than one thousand students have shared their writing over the years, and faculty members from nearly every department in our school have stepped up to the microphone to give us their stories.
This year we welcome ten illustrious writers to Writers Week: Sierra DeMulder, Mary Fons, Dann Gire, Kate Hogan, Ellen Hopkins, Thomas E. Kennedy, Jenna Marotta, Emily Rose, Veronica Roth, and Patricia Smith. When I look at that list, I can hardly believe it. The generosity of these individuals is extraordinary.
Then we will close Writers Week XVIII next Friday with the legendary FANBOYS, a very talented faculty rock band that performs parodies of pop songs with English-oriented lyrics. Nothing cheers my heart like seeing 600 students dancing and singing along with their teachers, “Don’t Stop Proofreadin’” to the tune of “Don’t Stop Believin’.” I wish everyone reading this could be there.
How is this year’s Writers Week different from the previous seventeen editions? Well, there are some differences. First of all, we have seen Writers Week programs pop up in several places around the country. We’re proud of our Writers Week pals at Hazelwood West High School in Hazelwood, Missouri, and The Community School of Naples in Florida for their successful Writers Week forays. There are more.
Although Writers Week at our school has always been team effort comprised of 100% volunteer efforts, this year has been even more team-oriented than usual. Tony Romano and I have been the lead organizers of Writers Week since hatching the idea all those years ago, and this is Tony’s retirement year. Tony has been carefully encouraging colleagues to take on new roles in the planning of Writers Week, and no one has let us down. If what we’re seeing is any indication, Writers Week is likely to continue at our school after Tony’s retirement this year and my own in 2014. Nothing makes me prouder.
So, here we go! You’re welcome to follow along with us. The Twitter hashtag is #ww18. Most of Writers Week XVIII will be streaming on our web page, http://fremdwritersweek.ning.com. Let’s have some fun.