More than 100 EmersonWRITES instructors, students, and their families celebrated the completion of the first EmersonWRITES program at a dinner in Emerson’s Bill Bordy Theater on December 4.
“The feeling I got on Saturday was that we had broken down walls and brought writing into the community in a way that was meaningful, “ said First-Year Writing Program (FYWP) instructor Mary Kovaleski Byrnes.
EmersonWRITES is a free writing workshop for Boston public high school students. The program was held on Saturdays in Emerson classrooms over the course of five weeks.
“College does not seem as oppressive or strict as I thought.”
The workshop was conceived in the College’s Admission Office under the direction of Vice President MJ Knoll-Finn, and developed by a committee, including Kovaleski Byrnes; Chris Grant, Assistant Director of Admission; Greg Nichols, an MFA candidate and FYWP instructor; and Tamera Marko, Acting Director of FYWP.
At the dinner, diplomas were awarded to all program participants in honor of their hard work over the past five weeks.
“For weeks now, EmersonWRITES has been such a big part of so many people’s lives—the teachers, the students, the parents,” said Nichols. “Seeing everyone together Saturday, smiling and exchanging stories, was such a thrill. It was the perfect way to close out a great first session.”
Emerson plans to run the program again in the spring. “Many of this semester’s students said they were coming back for the spring program. They loved their teachers [who are all unpaid volunteers]. That’s a testament to the strong curriculum the teachers developed,” explained Kovaleski Byrnes.
The impact was apparent through comments on anonymous feedback forms. One student wrote, “I learned that your stories are never wrong.” Another noted, “I think college will be more enjoyable than I once thought it would be,” and a third wrote, “College does not seem as oppressive or strict as I thought.”
“The best part of Saturday’s dinner was seeing the teachers and the students interact outside the classroom,” said Nichols. “I’ve never seen a group of students so gaga over their teachers. We just couldn’t have asked for a more talented, committed core of educators.”