Writing Center helps high school students

IUS Horizon

The Writing Center at IU Southeast is set up to help college students improve their writing abilities, but one faculty member had an idea to help a local high school create their own writing center.

Leigh Ann Meyer, director of The Writing Center, attended an International Writing Center Association conference in Las Vegas last spring, where she met with other writing center administrators.

“This was a four-day conference where we talked about various things, such as how to train student consultants, finding student consultants and how to update and provide needed material,” Meyer said.

While at the conference, she learned about a way IU Southeast could connect with the community by reaching out to New Albany High School and help them develop their own writing center for their school.

Meyer said she thought it would be a great idea and reached out to her connections at New Albany High School, where her children attend, to discuss the idea with them.

After meeting with the department chair of NAHS, they came up with the idea to have the honor and advanced placement students work together on this project.

However, due to NAHS changing their schedule to a seven-period day, Meyer said she feared it may not happen.

“Because of the students changing their schedule, we thought this project wasn’t going to happen, but the department chair came up with the idea to start a writing club,” Meyer said. “We presented the writing center idea to them and the students expressed interest.”

The NAHS Writing Club is made up of 26 students, all of whom are volunteers.

Meyer said this would be great résumé builder for the students and could get them a job at a writing center in a college.

Meyer brought on two interns to help her with this project.

Jessica Mattingly, secondary education and English senior and consultant who worked for The Writing Center, was presented the idea to do an internship that seemed perfect for her.

“I really want to do something that involves writing with the schools, so I thought this would be an awesome opportunity for me,” Mattingly said. “Getting into the school system is something I want to do and I just finished my student teaching this summer.”

Mattingly said this is a great resource for students, and she said she was happy to have some involvement in the project.

Mattingly was in charge of coming up with the training guidelines, doing research to setup the writing center and gathering the particulars of the project.

“To help the students along, we gave them all flash drives with the manuals and other material to help them start the center,” Mattingly said.

With all the material prepared and handed to the students, the consultants had some scenarios set up and put them in groups to see how they would handle them.

When each group was done, they came back as a whole and talked about what they would do to solve those problems. They also went over whether or not they thought if it would be something good for their school.

“I think this would be cool,” Taylor Harmon, NAHS junior, said.

Danielle Hutchinson, NAHS junior, said she agreed the center would help them in their future careers.

“Jobs are getting to get so you need to know what you are doing,” she said.

Hutchinson said the best way to learn something is to teach it. She said it helps improve your writing.

Staff Writer