NHS Barrio Writers Present at Conference

NHS Barrio Writers Present at Conference
Posted on 11/26/2018
NHS Barrio Writers Present at ConferenceSeven Nacogdoches High School students and an NHS graduate made their own impression earlier this month at the National Council of Teachers of English.

Stuart Olson-Beal, Daniel Gomez, Shyla Driver, Diamond Smith, Cameron Daniels, Noah Larive, and Noble Peck were joined in Houston by 2018 NHS grad Emileigh Chassell to describe the benefits of the Barrio Writers program.

Stephen F. Austin State University professors Dr. Heather Olson-Beal and Dr. Lauren Burrow helped coordinate the presentation that took place during the convention at George R. Brown Convention Center.

Barrio Writers is a creative writing program which provides free college-level writing workshops and offers participants the opportunity to build skills in reading, grammar, creative writing, critical thinking, freedom of expression through cultural arts and publication in the annual Barrio Writers anthology. Burrow and Olson-Beal work with the Barrio Writers program at Nacogdoches ISD.

“We’re thrilled about these students and so proud of them,” said Nacogdoches High School principal Dr. Rom Crespo. “I also want to thank Dr. Burrow and Dr. Olson-Beal for their involvement with our students.”

On Nov. 17, audience members attending the presentation in Houston were in-service English teachers and education professors from across the United States.

NHS students handled the questions from those in attendance, Olson-Beal said.

The students spoke powerfully about Barrio Writers, their creative writing, and the community we have created with Barrio Writers,” said Olson-Beal. “They spoke about learning to use their voices—both in terms of actually speaking out about issues that are important to them and about using their writing abilities to advocate for themselves and others inside and outside of our community.”

Students conducted a mini-live Barrio Writers reading, with each student performing a piece of spoken-word poetry or reading a poem, essay, open letter or short story, Olson-Beal said.

“They represented Nacogdoches High School and SFA so well,” she said. “I don’t know that I’ve ever been so proud as I was on that Saturday afternoon as I presented with youth writers from our community.

“Audience members furiously took notes and applauded; one even said, ‘This is the best sessions I’ve been to all weekend!’”

Afterwards, the students spent time in the exhibit halls looking over newly published or soon-to-be-published books, meeting authors and receiving free books.
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