By Steven A. Monserrate
Many Penn Manor students are involved in a growing community, which organizes the writers of the school together to improve their writing.
These students participate in the Creative Writing Club, take a class or write in their free time.
They are having an impact at Penn Manor by supporting freedom of expression and providing an open atmosphere so that the students can say and write what they want, without judgement.
Junior Harrison Wallace became interested in writing because of his friends.
“In seventh grade, myself and two other friends started to write a story, it inspired me to keep on writing.” he said.
Wallace wants to go to IUP or Millersville to study script writing or cast directing, because it will help him understand the story and the characters and how the entire story relates to the audience.
Wallace commented on the creative writing community.
“I feel like they just express themselves and therefore we’ve had people open up about a lot of stuff.”
Junior Eliezer Griffis is also a member of the Creative Writing Club.
“I write because it’s relaxing… there’s so much in my mind, I need to put it down somewhere,” said Griffis.
Griffis said that he wants to write a book about the Navy, which he feels is overlooked by many today.
“There aren’t many books about the Navy. I want to be able to write a story about what the regular Navy does,” said Griffis. “It’s all about the Navy Seals, the Marines or the Army. The Navy deserves some credit.”
Griffis commented on the Creative Writing Club.
“[It is an ] inviting atmosphere, fun, yet mysterious because you never know what you are going to do.”
Like many, Griffis joined the club and will take the class not only to have a good time with his friends, but to learn more from the authors who are already involved with the community and to teach and share ideas with others.
Mrs. Mayo, an English teacher at Penn Manor, is the advisor of the Creative Writing Club.
“It started when a former student came to me the last day of school and said that there needed to be a creative writing club and that I needed to do it. I said that I didn’t have time but he said that I needed to make some.”
The club started the following year, and about twenty or so people attended. As word spread however, the club grew.
“It is bigger than I ever planned or expected, but everybody works so well… When I saw the amount of people who joined the club, I honestly thought that I’d have to do something about it, but I decided not to and it’s worked out pretty well.”
The club has a goal of helping the students think outside the box. With the talent that has been demonstrated by the students, we’re getting more open with expression, according to Mrs. Mayo.
“It’s amazing because everything that we do in club because I can say, ‘Let’s do this!’ and there’s no grade, no judgement, no complaints. We come in with some crazy ideas and sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t,” said Mrs. Mayo.
She also mentioned that the club has, “an atmosphere of absolutely no judgment, everyone can feel comfortable being themselves.”
Some of the club members post their works on Penn Manor Expressions, a site that allows students to post their writing where others can see it.
English teacher Mr. Scott Hertzog will teach creative writing this spring. The class is a place where people can come to write and get feedback while also getting a new learning experience on different forms of writing, including different types of poems, short stories, novels and novellas.
“When people come to creative writing class, they look for a way to express themselves through their writing.” Mr. Hertzog said. “What is interesting for me is that in creative writing, there’s almost no topic that I can’t write about — there’s really no limit.”
The class has students write frequently. Some of the writing styles are not easy, so practice is always emphasized.
“Some do it for the grade, but others want the piece to be the best that it can be,” Mr. Hertzog said.
Mr. Hertzog mentioned that the club and class are pretty well mixed, saying that out of the 22 or so students who will attend the class, about half of them are already involved with the club.
“I hope that the passion that the club members have will join with that of the classes attitude as well,” he said.